The qualifying rounds for the FIFA World Cup 2014 are drawing closer to their conclusions, with most of the spots to be wrapped up later this year. For a lucky group of 736 players—32 national teams, 23 men per squad—they will get the chance to perform on the global scale, but the inevitable hard-luck stories will also be prevalent.
For many, many more players, they will never get the chance to go to a World Cup, with their nations simply not progressive enough in their respective qualifying zones to hope to earn a place. Gareth Bale, for example, was excluded from this list because Wales don't have a shot of qualifying.
But for some, the agony is that they are close, perhaps have even been to the final previously—but will this time miss out by the narrowest of margins.
The World Cup is a wonderful showpiece to witness a collection of stars vying for one trophy outright, but here are the 10 best players in the world who are in danger of not making the finals, for their teams currently lie outside the automatic qualifying positions in their respective groups.