FIFA World Cup 2018: Surprise omissions from the 23-man squads of the 6 favorites
The FIFA World Cup is the Beautiful Game's most prestigious tournament. In many ways, it is more than just a competition. It's a passion, an emotion for millions of players and fans across the world.
Featuring in one's country colors is something no player lucky enough to have experienced it will forget. 32 countries make it to the group stages of the World Cup, and each team is allowed to bring a squad of 23 players. This means that a total of 736 players will be a part of the upcoming World Cup. What this also means is that some popular names failed to make the final squad.
Let us take at the most shocking omissions from the final 23-man squads of the favorites:
Karim Benzema, Anthony Martial, Dimitri Payet
It has been a while since Benzema last featured for France as he was embroiled in a scandal involving an alleged attempt to blackmail fellow Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. It was still a bold decision for Deschamps to not pick the man who is on a high, having won three Champions League titles on the trot.
Anthony Martial had an impressive start in the Premier League with Manchester United last season. He was widely used as a "super sub" as he found the back of the net 4 times in the first 10 games, all of them as a substitute. However, the second half of the season was a disaster, and 'Tony' Martial found himself on the bench more often than not.
Dimitri Payet was the breakthrough player for France in Euro 2016. He was exceptional in the tournament and instrumental in guiding his country to the finals. After Payet's fallout with West Ham, the road went downhill for the talented winger. His poor form coupled with the plethora of options on the French wings led Deschamps to omit Payet from the 23-man squad.