The stars symbolize shattered expectations of nations. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho
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With Arjen Robben, Alexis Sanchez, Gareth Bale and Gianluigi Buffon as the stars, it would be possible to build an impressive team from players who will miss the 2018 World Cup. In some cases, the players simply have the bad luck to represent nations who are unlikely to reach the World Cup, at least until it expands to 48 teams in 2026 . Goalkeeper: Buffon (Italy)A monument and a global yardstick in his position, Buffon has been a seemingly ageless pillar of the Italy team over 175 caps spread across 20 years. The famed Juventus "BBC" back three was broken up in the summer as the junior member, Leonardo Bonucci, moved to Milan, but he was back alongside Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini against Sweden.Barzagli, 36, like Buffon and midfielder Daniele De Rossi, retired from international football after the defeat.Time will beat Robben as it has Buffon.It was not enough and Sanchez, who has been persistently linked to Manchester City, will be able to spend the summer focusing on his future.
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