UEFA Euro 2024 Surprise Misses XI

The Hard Tackle examines the UEFA Euro 2024 squads and assembles an XI of fit players from qualified teams who were surprisingly left out.

It is almost time for UEFA Euro 2024, as the best teams in the continent are all set to square up against each other with hopes of lifting the silverware on July 14. Italy, the defending champions, will hope to retain the title, while England, who lost the final last time out, will be hoping to go one step further this time around.

The likes of Germany, France and Portugal will also have high expectations given the quality of their squad. While it promises to be an exciting month-long tournament, The Hard Tackle has put together an XI of players who are not going to be a part of Euro 2024 as they have missed out on a place in their respective squads. (the XI only includes players from qualified teams and players who were fit to be a part of the Euro, replacements have also been excluded)

Formation (4-4-2 Diamond)

Thibaut Courtois (GK)

Courtois was out injured for the majority of the 2023/24 season. He made a return just in time for the final of the UEFA Champions League. After appearing in a few league games, the Belgian international ended up starting the Champions League final ahead of Andriy Lunin and helped Los Blancos win their 15th UCL title.

While he is back fit, Domenico Tedesco has revealed the reason why he has been left out of the Euro 2024 squad. The Belgian manager has suggested that the player has informed them that he is not ready for the major event. He wants time to work on his fitness and does not want to risk getting injured again. The Real Madrid shot-stopper is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and his absence will surely be felt by the Belgian.

Alejandro Balde (LB)

While Balde had an exceptional debut season with the Barcelona first team, the second campaign did not really go according to plan for him. The 20-year-old left-back struggled with injuries and could only feature in 28 games during his second season and he only had two goal contributions.

The Spanish international did miss a significant amount of games because of injury. But he is back fit and could have been an ideal option for Luis de la Fuente. However, the Spain boss has decided against taking him to UEFA Euro 2024 as he feels Balde will need time to get back to his best.

Mats Hummels (CB)

Hummels might be 35, but he was the best defender in the Champions League last season. The German international’s performances in the heart of the defence were one of the major reasons for Dortmund’s incredible run in the UCL.

Despite putting in the hard yards throughout the season and performing on a consistent basis, Hummels could not find a place in Julian Nagelsmann’s plans for UEFA Euro 2024. While they do have quality options in Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterberck and Jonathan Tah, the experience of the veteran Borussia Dortmund defender could have come in handy.

Jean-Clair Todibo (CB)

Multiple top clubs from across Europe, including Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester United, are keen on acquiring the services of Jean-Clair Todibo thanks to his incredible rise at OGC Nice. The 24-year-old had another impressive season at the back as he was involved in 33 matches and even contributed towards three goals.

Todibo has established himself as one of the best young defenders in Ligue 1. But despite all his efforts he has failed to make it France’s 26-man squad for UEFA Euro 2024. Given his consistent performances, many expected him to at least be a part of the squad, but Didier Deschamps decided against it.

Pedro Porro (RB)

Porro’s move to Tottenham became permanent last summer and in his very first full season at the club, the right-back has managed to impress everyone with his consistent performances. He was involved in 37 outings across competitions last term and ended up contributing towards 11 goals (4 goals, 7 assists).

The 24-year-old’s consistent performances throughout the 2023/24 season were not good enough for him to earn a place in the Spanish squad for Euro 2024. His absence does come as a surprise as he could have been an ideal cover for their first choice Dani Carvajal.

Manuel Locatelli (DM)

No doubt Locatelli was not at his best last season for Juventus. But he did play an integral part in Italy’s triumph in the last edition. Despite not being at his best, the 26-year-old defensive midfielder was still expected to be a part of the squad for the Euros.

However, Luciano Spalletti has decided to not have him at his disposal. Locatelli is the biggest surprise exclusion from the Azzurri squad. While they do have enough quality to cover for him, the fact that he had done well for them last time around suggested they should have taken him with them to Germany.

Matt O’Riley (CM)

While this list has quite a few high-profile names on it, O’Riley’s absence could be the biggest blunder of them all. The 23-year-old midfielder had a sensational season for Celtic last time out as he scored 19 goals and bagged another 18 assists.

Despite contributing towards 37 goals, he could not find a place in Denmark’s squad for the Euro. While they do have quality options, leaving out someone who is red hot form does not really make sense and hopefully, it doesn’t come back to haunt them.

Aleix Garcia (CM)

Garcia was one of the best players in La Liga last term. He played a big part in Girona’s exceptional run which saw them secure a spot in next season’s Champions League. The 26-year-old midfielder was involved in 37 out of the 38 league games and he had contributed towards nine goals.

While the Girona skipper did manage to break into Spain’s national team on the back of his performances, he did not make the final squad for the European Championships. It did come as a huge surprise because he had hardly put a foot wrong throughout the season, and his ability to feature in any role in the centre of the park could have helped their cause.

Julian Brandt (AM)

Brandt is another high-profile star who won’t be seen at the Euros despite all the work that he put in. The 28-year-old was key to Dortmund’s incredible run in the Champions League. But, his performances could not convince Nagelsmann that he deserved a place in his team.

In the 2023/24 campaign, the Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder was involved in 47 outings, he found the back of the net on 10 occasions and even had 16 assists to his name. But, he still ended up missing out and it might be because they already have Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz in their squad.

Ciro Immobile (LS)

Immobile was an important part of the Italian team that lifted the European Championship last time out but the 34-year-old has failed to make the cut this time around. While he might not be one of the best forwards going around, the Lazio skipper is still going strong as he had 11 goals and an assist last season.

The amount of experience he had could have helped those around him and he could have been an important figure in their dressing room. As a result, his omission was another surprise for the fans.

Raheem Sterling (RS)

England have no shortage of talent at their disposal, and they have left out quite a few star forwards. Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling are three big-name forwards who have failed to make the cut. While Rashford and Grealish’s absence is understandable given the kind of season they had, Sterling’s absence is a bit of a surprise.

The 29-year-old had 18 goal contributions last term for Chelsea in what was considered a poor season by his standards. While one could justify his absence based on his club form, the fact that he has stepped up and performed for the England national team in difficult situations in the past suggests that he should have been a part of their squad.

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