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Absent XI: The best players who won't be at Euro 2024


Editor's note: This article was published before the Netherlands ruled Frenkie de Jong out of Euro 2024 with an ankle injury.

With the Euro 2024 squads submitted, we now know who we'll be watching in Germany. But a collection of players won't be on show due to injury, coaching decisions, or a failure to qualify. Below is theScore's Absent XI, made up entirely of players who won't take part in this summer's competition.

Thibaut Courtois (Belgium) - Injury

How could Belgium possibly exclude a goalkeeper who just won the Champions League? Because the plan all along was for Courtois to skip the Euros and focus on making a full recovery following consecutive knee injuries. Even though Courtois played in five of Madrid's final seven matches of the season, his return was choreographed. He hasn't played more than two matches in a row since June 2023. Crucially, Courtois wouldn't have the same flexibility during a whirlwind tournament like the Euros, and he'd run the risk of reinjuring himself ahead of what's shaping up to be Madrid's most exciting season yet.

Ben White (England) - Not selected

Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty

England isn't short of right-backs, but White's absence from the team this summer still hurts. He's abstained from international duty ever since one of Gareth Southgate's assistants allegedly took a shot at him for not being as football-mad as the rest. White is a consummate professional who has starred for Arsenal at center-back and more recently at right-back, where he's thrived. Just because he doesn't watch football on his time off doesn't mean he's a bad player. It's a sad situation for everyone, and it denies England of a potential solution at center-back, where Southgate is light on reliable options.

Mats Hummels (Germany) - Not selected

Hummels was rightly peeved when he learned Julian Nagelsmann had omitted him from his squad. The veteran center-back had just reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund and impressed international audiences with tidy individual performances along the way. Hummels led all players in the Champions League in tackles won (29), interceptions (25), and clearances (69), and yet Nagelsmann deemed the 35-year-old surplus to requirements. It's unlikely Hummels will get another chance to represent Germany at another major tournament.

David Alaba (Austria) - Injury

Guenther Iby / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Alaba tore his ACL in December - the third Madrid player to do so in a short span - so there was no way for him to make the Euros. But while he's unavailable as a player, he'll be in Germany as Austria's "non-playing captain," giving the national team access to his leadership skills rather than his exceptional versatility on the pitch. Alaba can play anywhere from central midfield to left-back, and he even had an attacking role earlier in his career. It's his ability to plug gaps that Austria will miss most. Head coach Ralf Rangnick will have to find solutions elsewhere - defensive midfielder Konrad Laimer can fulfill a similar wild-card role, as he did for Bayern Munich this past season - but Alaba's composure in high-stress situations is tough to replicate.

Lucas Hernandez (France) - Injury

The unluckiest player on this list, Hernandez will miss a second consecutive major tournament with a knee injury, leaving his brother Theo to fill in at left-back for the French national team. The 28-year-old tore his ACL in his right knee in France's opening match of the 2022 World Cup and ruptured the ligaments in his left knee during the Champions League semifinals in May. Head coach Didier Deschamps has significant cover across the entire backline - and Lucas' brother Theo is a marauding left-back himself - so his absence shouldn't hurt France's chances too much. After all, Les Bleus made it to the 2022 World Cup final without him.

Martin Odegaard (Norway) - Didn't qualify

Soccrates Images / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Norway missed out on Euro 2024 despite having two of the Premier League's best players in its lineup. Odegaard and Erling Haaland could only help their national team finish in third in Group A - behind Spain and Scotland - with 11 points out of a possible 24. Granted, Norway hasn't qualified for a major tournament since 2000, and two players don't make a team. It's a shame because Odegaard and his scoring machine of a teammate would add tremendous quality to the Euros. Odegaard was shortlisted for the Premier League player of the season award, having led Arsenal's title charge with his influential play in midfield.

Sandro Tonali (Italy) - Suspended

Tonali is still serving a ban for betting on matches involving his former club AC Milan. Without it, he'd easily start for Italy, which is lacking two-way midfielders with Tonali's rugged style of play. Only Nicolo Barella moves the needle in the same way Tonali can. While Bryan Cristante and Jorginho are safe options, Italy needs more game breakers who can expose gaps in midfield. Luckily for the Azzurri, the 24-year-old has time on his side. He'll have the opportunity to play in at least two more European Championships, and his time with Newcastle United in the Premier League should add even more edge to his already-physical game.

Gavi (Spain) - Injury

Marc Atkins / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Barcelona lost Gavi for the season when he tore his ACL in November on international duty. The 19-year-old is just the latest in a string of academy graduates to suffer serious injuries at an early age. Pedri and Ansu Fati have also missed significant time, and Fati has since called on Barcelona to do a better job protecting young players. Spain is lucky to have Pedri fit and Rodri at the base of midfield for this tournament, or else Gavi's absence would have greater consequences. Gavi is a versatile midfielder who can play deeper and closer to the striker, and if he gets the protection Fati so desperately wants for his peers, he'll become a staple in Spain's midfield for the decade to come.

Serge Gnabry (Germany) - Injury

Another player who's spent nearly as much time on the sidelines as he has on the field, Gnabry missed 28 games for Bayern and Germany this past season due to a hip problem, forearm fracture, and muscle tears. Like Hernandez, his former teammate at Bayern, Gnabry suffered his most recent injury during the Champions League semifinals, robbing Germany of an electric right-winger with game-winning ability. Fortunately for the host nation, Leroy Sane is just as capable on the right flank, and with Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz available, Germany has more than enough talent in the attacking third.

Erling Haaland (Norway) - Didn't qualify

Soccrates Images / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Haaland finished tied for seventh in scoring during Euro qualifying, behind Scottish midfielder Scott McTominay. But Haaland missed three qualifiers, all of which Norway failed to win. Any team would struggle to produce without Haaland's 62 goals in just 66 Premier League appearances. Big-name strikers have missed tournaments before - Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent from the 2018 World Cup due to Sweden's failure to qualify - so losing a player like Haaland isn't unprecedented. Manchester City are surely happy about it. They'll get their star man back in tip-top shape come the start of the season in August.

Marcus Rashford (England) - Not selected

It's no surprise Southgate omitted Rashford from England's Euro squad. The Manchester United forward is coming off a wretched campaign in which he scored just eight goals in 43 total appearances. He's a long way off his rip-roaring post-World Cup form, and his exclusion marks a new low for a player who burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2016. England certainly won't miss him at this year's tournament. Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, and Cole Palmer are much more confident finishers right now.


To round out our 26-man squad, here are some of the other stars who won't be in Germany this month:

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Ireland), Lukas Hradecky (Finland)

Defenders: Reece James (England), Ian Maatsen (Netherlands), Destiny Udogie (Italy), Harry Maguire (England)

Midfielders: Manuel Locatelli (Italy), Lewis Ferguson (Scotland), Leon Goretzka (Germany), Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)

Forwards: Jack Grealish (England), Jadon Sancho (England), Joshua Zirkzee (Netherlands), Viktor Gyokeres (Sweden), Alexander Isak (Sweden)

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