Best XI not at Euro 2024 has Haaland, Isak, Ferguson up front

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Laurens: Norway should do better with Haaland and Odegaard (1:05)

Gab and Juls discuss Norway's failure to qualify for Euro 2024 and wonder if Erling Haaland will be fit in time to play against Liverpool. (1:05)

With the main qualification group stage complete and 21 of the 24 available places settled, we can now form a picture of exactly which players will be taking part when Euro 2024 comes around next summer.

Hosts Germany have already been joined by fellow heavyweights France, England, Croatia, Netherlands, Italy and Spain, who all successfully sealed their respective berths at the tournament over the past year.

The three remaining Euro 2024 qualification spots will be decided via a round of playoffs that will take place next March, which will see three nations from a possible 12 squeeze their way in via the back door.

Unfortunately, we can also confirm the 21 nations that won't be featuring at Euro 2024 next June after failing to make it through the qualifiers -- namely Norway, Cyprus, Republic of Ireland, Gibraltar, North Macedonia, Malta, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Montenegro, Northern Ireland, San Marino, Andorra, Belarus, Kosovo and Liechtenstein.

Naturally, this means there are several prominent players who have been cruelly denied the chance to represent their country on the grand stage in Germany. Indeed, you can actually piece together a serviceable starting XI from the individual stars who won't be gracing the pitch at Euro 2024.

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Goalkeeper: Caoimhin Kelleher (Republic of Ireland/Liverpool)

Kelleher may have only five senior starts under his belt after emerging with Liverpool last season, but the 24-year-old goalkeeper has been nearly ever-present on Jurgen Klopp's bench in 2023-24 thus far and has proved his mettle when given the chance in the past. Kelleher has also proved himself adept in the art of both saving and scoring penalties, rifling home the decisive winning spot kick for Liverpool in their shootout victory over Chelsea in the 2022 Carabao Cup final.

Defender: Victor Lindelöf (Sweden/Manchester United)

Despite making it through to the knockout phase at Euro 2020, Sweden -- who are captained by Manchester United defender Lindelof -- fell some way short of reaching Euro 2024 after finishing a relatively distant third in their qualifying group behind winners Belgium and runners-up Austria.

Defender: Stefan Savic (Montenegro/Atletico Madrid)

A former Premier League winner with Manchester City, Savic has since claimed both the LaLiga title and the Europa League with Atleti. The 32-year-old centre-back is vice captain of the Montenegro national side, who missed out on qualifying for Euro 2024 after finishing behind Hungary and Serbia in their group.

Defender: Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland/Manchester United)

Another Manchester United player to miss out on the chance to represent his country at the finals next year, centre-half Evans unexpectedly returned to Old Trafford in September eight years on from his first stint. The veteran has featured eight times in all competitions so far in 2023-24 despite being a month shy of his 36th birthday.

Defender: Emil Krafth (Sweden/Newcastle)

Comfortable in the centre of defence and at right-back, Krafth has featured for Newcastle just once in the Premier League this season. He is generally more often called upon at international level, having played 44 times for Sweden at senior level, making him the ninth-highest cap winner in the current squad.

Midfielder: Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden/Tottenham)

Usually found operating on the right-hand side of the attack, Kulusevski has proved a popular addition to the Tottenham squad, scoring three goals in 12 Premier League games so far this season. He also started all eight of Sweden's Euro 2024 qualifiers but found the net on only one occasion -- a late strike in a 5-0 drubbing of Estonia in September.

Midfielder: Martin Ødegaard (Norway/Arsenal)

One of the biggest stars to miss out on Euro 2024, the dynamic Arsenal midfielder's absence perhaps shouldn't come as too much of a shock considering that Norway haven't actually qualified for any major tournament since Euro 2000, which they exited at the group stage.

Midfielder: Anthony Elanga (Sweden/Nottingham Forest)

Elanga has been an instant hit at Nottingham Forest this season, scoring two goals and laying on three assists in his first 12 Premier League outings. The left-sided utility player featured in only two of Sweden's Euro 2024 qualifiers but still managed to get himself on the scoresheet in the 5-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan back in March 2023.

Forward: Evan Ferguson (Republic of Ireland/Brighton & Hove Albion)

One of the Premier League's breakout stars of recent years, 19-year-old Ferguson has reportedly been attracting admiring glances from several big clubs after scoring five goals in 11 league games for the Seagulls -- including a brilliant hat trick against Newcastle in September.

Forward: Erling Haaland (Norway/Manchester City)

Two goals in the recent 4-4 extravaganza against Chelsea saw Haaland take his tally to 49 goals in just 47 Premier League appearances for Man City. Sadly, injury issues limited the powerhouse striker's involvement in Norway's Euro 2024 qualification campaign to just five appearances, in which he still managed to notch six goals. Alas, it just wasn't enough come the final reckoning.

Forward: Alexander Isak (Sweden/Newcastle)

Isak has been in fine fettle for Newcastle this campaign, scoring six goals in eight Premier League games and playing a central role in October's sensational 4-1 demolition of Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stage.

How would this XI fare at the finals? Any team with Haaland at the apex of the attack is almost guaranteed to score goals, but we have real reservations about the rigidity of that back line. If we had to lay a prediction on the line, we'd posit that a creditable exit in the round of 16 would be within this team's grasp.


There are three remaining places at Euro 2024 still to play for with the final three entrants to be decided via a round of playoff games that are scheduled to take place in late March 2024.

As determined by the UEFA Nations League, there will be three paths through the playoffs that will ultimately see three from 12 nations make it through to the tournament proper.

Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Poland, Ukraine, and Wales will all play two single-leg semifinals, and one single-leg final with a precious spot at Euro 2024 on the line.

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Of course, this also means that there are a raft of potential late call-ups for the Missing Players XI depending on which nine national teams fall by the wayside.

These include:

Goalkeepers
Wojciech Szczesny (Poland/Juventus)
Odysseas Vlachodimos (Greece/Nottingham Forest)
Lukas Hradecky (Finland/Bayer Leverkusen)

Defenders
Kostas Tsimikas (Greece/Liverpool)
Matty Cash (Poland/Aston Villa)
Sead Kolasinac (Bosnia/Atalanta)
Vitaliy Mykolenko (Ukraine/Everton)
Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine/Arsenal)

Midfielders
Piotr Zielinski (Poland/Napoli)
Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland/Abha)
Harry Wilson (Wales/Fulham)
Aaron Ramsey (Wales/Cardiff City)
Robert Taylor (Finland/Inter Miami)
Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia/Sharjah)
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgia/Napoli)

Forwards
Arkadiusz Milik (Poland/Juventus)
Krzysztof Piatek (Poland/Istanbul Basaksehir)
Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine/Dynamo Kyiv)
Mykhailo Mudryk (Ukraine/Chelsea)
Brennan Johnson (Wales/Tottenham)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Barcelona)
Edin Dzeko (Bosnia/Fenerbahce)

As tournament benches go, the Euro 2024 Missing Players XI surely boasts the strongest in European Championship history -- even if it would still slightly exceed the 23-player maximum being enforced at next summer's tournament.