Wish you were here! Our World XI from the countries that didn't qualify for Russia 2018

After their nations failed to qualify, some of the best will be on the couch like the rest of us, watching the World Cup.

A NUMBER OF the world’s best will be absent from Russia this summer after their nations failed to qualify for the tournament. Some came close but failed to inspire their country to success.

Others were born into nations that never really have a chance for qualification. If you combine all these players, you end up with a team that could well be good enough to actually challenge for the trophy themselves. Featuring three Italians and two Chileans among a selection of players from 15 countries, here’s the best team of players that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

GK: Jan Oblak (Slovenia) 

Marseille v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Europa League - Final - Parc Olympique Lyonnais The Slovenian won the Europa League last month. PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

The 25-year-old is just off the back of Europa League success with Atletico Madrid but will have the summer off after Slovenia failed to qualify for the tournament, they finished fourth in their qualification group.

LB: David Alaba (Austria)

Austria Russia Soccer The Austrian in action against Russia on 30 May. Kerstin Joensson Kerstin Joensson

One of the best left backs in the world, and if his country actually played him there: Austria and Alaba may have qualified to be in Russia this summer. The Bayern man is exceptionally versatile and possesses frightening experience for a player just 25-years-old.

CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)

Italy: Juventus v AC Milan TIM Cup Final The AC Milan captain after the Coppa Italia final loss to Juventus on May 10. SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

A World Cup without Italy, imagine. It does mean that we won’t be watching one of the world’s best centre-halves in Bonucci. The AC Milan man turned 31 in May so it’s unlikely we’ll see him at another World Cup; a real shame.

CB: Virgil Van Dijk (Netherlands)

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League - Stamford Bridge The centre-half arrived at Anfield for a record £75 million in January. EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

Van Dijk has been the man that’s steadied a wobbly Liverpool defence and helped them to a Champions League final and it’s a pity that the Netherlands failed to qualify for the tournament. He’s fast becoming key for his country and will definitely get another crack at getting to the world’s greatest stage in the future.

RB: Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)

Soccer 2018: Real Madrid 1:3 Juventus The Italian has been at the top level for a decade. Manu Reino Manu Reino

He’s not a full-back but he has to make this team. The Juventus man has done it all, except win a World Cup. He came into the Italy setup after their World Cup triumph and the 2014 European Championship has been his only reasonably successful period in the Azzuri defence.

RM: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City - Premier League - Wembley Stadium Mahrez and Algeria finished bottom of their qualification group in a disappointing campaign. Paul Harding Paul Harding

He has been consistent with Leicester since their title win and is on the verge of a big money move to one of Europe’s top clubs. The Algerian scored 12 goals in the Premier League this season.

CM: Arturo Vidal (Chile)

Chile vs. Germany Vidal waves to supporters after Chile's Confederations cup loss to Germany last summer. DPA / PA Images DPA / PA Images / PA Images

With 100 caps for his country, the imposing central midfielder has been a major asset to Bayern Munich over the last few seasons and Juventus prior to then. He threatened to retire from international football after Chile failed to qualify for the tournament but has since lined out for his country.

CM: Marco Verrati (Italy)

Imago 20180301 Verrati in action for PSG in the Coupe de France this year. Imago / PA Images Imago / PA Images / PA Images

Another Italian, Verrati has been a constant at central midfield for half a decade at PSG and has really established himself as one of the best and most versatile at what he does. He was recently left out of Roberto Mancini’s new-look Italy but there’s no doubt Verrati is one of the best not jetting off to Russia.

LM: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Chelsea v Manchester United - Emirates FA Cup - Final - Wembley Stadium Sanchez joined Manchester United this year after successful periods at Arsenal and Barcelona. Nick Potts Nick Potts

What’s left to say about Alexis Sanchez? He’s been instrumental for Barcelona, Arsenal and now Manchester United. Chile surprisingly failed to qualify for the World Cup, missing out on qualifying for a playoff on goal difference to Peru.

ST: Gareth Bale (Wales)

(SP)UKRAINE-KIEV-CHAMPIONS LEAGUE-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID Bale scored two goals to help Real Madrid win the Champions League in Kiev last month. Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

One of the most expensive players ever, the Welsh winger actually has the Irish to blame for not being in Russia this summer. The Boys in Green ended the Real Madrid man’s hopes of qualification for the tournament.

ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)

Arsenal v West Ham United - Premier League - Emirates Stadium Aubameyang has scored ten goals in 14 appearances for Arsenal since his January move. Mark Kerton Mark Kerton

The Arsenal man has been in good form since his move to the Emirates from Dortmund, maintaining his reputation as one of the best attackers in the game today. Unfortunately his nation, Gabon, are ranked 90th in the Fifa World Rankings and weren’t in with a realistic shot of qualification despite his talents.

Substitutes: Andrew Robertson (Scotland), Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast), Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Naby Keita (Guinea), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenia), Marek Hamšík (Slovakia), Christian Pulisic (USA).

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