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Picking a Best XI of Nonstarters at the 2014 World Cup

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentJune 24, 2014

Picking a Best XI of Nonstarters at the 2014 World Cup

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    The squads at this year's World Cup are decorated with a wonderful plethora of talent that barely gets a look in.

    Some players may be permanent starters for their prestigious clubs, but impressing their international coaches is another question.

    Furthermore, injuries have hampered some players' chances of starting for the countries, whilst some simply face world-class opposition for their place in the team.

    Here, we make up an XI of World Cup players who don't start for their countries.

    Have we missed anyone? Let us know your thoughts on the line-up in the comments section below. 

GK: Pepe Reina

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Iker Casillas' World Cup campaign with Spain left much to be desired, and all the while, they had the experience of Pepe Reina sitting on the bench.

    After eight solid years in Liverpool's goal, Reina spent 2013-14 on loan at Napoli, keeping 10 clean sheets in 30 Serie A appearances.

    Reina started Spain's final game of the tournament, a 3-0 win over Australia in Group B.

LB: Luke Shaw

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    Alan Diaz/Associated Press

    Southampton left-back Luke Shaw won the plaudits of many with sensational and mature performances in the Premier League last season.

    But age and lack of experience may have counted against the 18-year-old, and he was left on the bench for England's dismal opening two games against Italy and Uruguay.

CB: Martin Demichelis

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Only injury got in the way of Martin Demichelis starting all of Manchester City's games during their title-winning 2013-14 season.

    The 33-year-old was a rock in the heart of City's defence, winning 63 percent of his headed duels and earning an impressive performance score of 827, according to Squawka.

    Yet, it wasn't enough to impress Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, and Demichelis is yet to appear in this World Cup.

CB: Laurent Koscielny

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    One of Arsenal's better performers over 2013-14, Laurent Koscielny would usually walk into any international team's starting line-up.

    But the impressive form of Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho kept Koscielny out until Sakho's injury during France's 5-2 victory over Switzerland.

RB: Bacary Sagna

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Veteran right-back Bacary Sagna would provide France with experience, strength and power and comes off the back of an impressive season with Arsenal.

    He won 67 percent of his headed duels and boasts an 85 percent pass accuracy record, according to Squawka.

    Yet, Sagna is yet to make an appearance for France during this World Cup.

MID: Javi Martinez

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Javi Martinez could well be set for a move away from Bayern Munich this summer, as per Jacob Steinberg of The Guardian, but he remains a highly rated Spanish defensive midfielder.

    Martinez didn't start Spain's disastrous 5-1 defeat to Holland in their opening game, was brought in for their 2-0 defeat to Chile and was then dropped for their tournament swansong—a 3-0 victory over Australia.

MID: Koke

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Despite missing just two of Atletico Madrid's games in their La Liga-winning 2013-14 campaign, Koke missed out on a starting place in Spain's opening two World Cup games.

    The 22-year-old played a massive part in Atletico's success both domestically and in their run to the Champions League final.

    He did however get a start in Spain's final game against Australia when Vicente del Bosque gave his nonstarters a chance.

MID: Bastian Schweinsteiger

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Injury in Bayern Munich's final game of the 2013-14 Bundesliga season set midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger back following 23 appearances for the Deutscher Meister.

    The 29-year-old came off the bench for the final 21 minutes of Germany's 2-2 draw with Ghana, but he may be hoping for a start in their final Group G game against USA on Thursday.

MID: Adam Lallana

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    As the subject of speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool, as per Ben Smith of BBC Sport, and after a superb season with Southampton, it was perhaps a surprise that Adam Lallana started neither of England's opening two World Cup games.

    Both ended in defeat, and Lallana's attacking movement and creativity may well have been of benefit to Roy Hodgson's side.

ST: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has proven himself as a formidable forward for many consecutive seasons now. Unfortunately for him, he has stiff opposition at the international level for Holland.

    Injury slightly hampered Huntelaar's 2013-14 campaign for Schalke, but he still found the net 12 times in 18 Bundesliga appearances.

    With Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie firing on all cylinders for the Dutch, it's difficult to see when Huntelaar will get some game time, never mind a starting place.

ST: Ciro Immobile

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Having sealed a £15.5 million move to Borussia Dortmund shortly before the World Cup finals, as per BBC Sport, Ciro Immobile is yet to start for Italy in Brazil.

    The 24-year-old scored an impressive 22 goals in 33 appearances for Torino in 2013-14, but he faces competition for his place in Cesare Prandelli's starting line-up against the likes of Mario Balotelli.

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