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Stewart Coggin

Big Names Not on the Plane

By May 12, 2010

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There were a number of high-profile omissions, as coaches of the 32 competing nations named their preliminary World Cup squads.

Some hardly come as a surprise, while there are a few that baffle.

Falling into that latter category is Argentina coach Diego Maradona's decision not to include Esteban Cambiasso in his 30-man preliminary squad. The Inter Milan holding midfielder has been a stalwart for his club this season, excellent in the recent Champions League triumph against Barcelona as he helped keep Lionel Messi quiet.

Maradona said a few months ago that Cambiasso's Inter teammate Javier Zanetti would not be called up, and he has been true to his word.

France coach Raymond Domenech has omitted Patrick Vieira (Manchester City), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) and Samir Nasri (Arsenal). If Vieira and Benzema have lacked match practice this season, Nasri has been a key performer for Arsenal since the turn of the year and his absence is a surprise.

Ronaldinho's omission from the Brazil squad is less of one. Dunga initially dropped him in 2009 after carrying him around for the best part of three years, but it seems that despite his improved form with AC Milan, the coach has still not forgotten the many occasions he turned up at squad meets out of shape.

Alexandre Pato is also not a favorite of Dunga and has been left out, as has Flamengo striker Adriano despite his recent renaissance.

It looks like there will be no fairytale returns, either, for three of Italy's 2006 World Cup heroes. Despite Marcello Lippi's unwavering belief in his old guard, Francesco Totti has not been called out of international retirement, while Luca Toni and Alessandro Del Piero have also been ignored. Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie's omission has also raised a few eyebrows.

Barring an injury crisis or a dramatic U-turn on the part of the respective coaches, these playerslook set to miss out onSouth Africa.

Visit my World Cup page to see all the preliminary squads.

Photo Getty Images

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