Whilst the best footballers on the planet are currently involved in World Cup qualifiers with the ultimate aim of reaching Brazil 2014, spare a thought for some of the games greatest players who never got the opportunity to play on football's biggest stage...
One of the greatest footballers in Manchester United and Premier League history, Giggs has a trophy cabinet bursting with 12 Premier League titles, 2 European Cups, 4 FA Cups and 4 League Cups. But despite such an illustrious career, in which he's committed 16 years to playing international football, Giggs' nation of Wales have not qualified for a World Cup since 1958.
One of the most talented footballers of all time, George Best became a legend with Manchester United legend in the 1960's and 70's, but was never able to lead Northern Ireland to a World Cup. He enjoyed his best years with United and led them to 1968 European Cup glory, before leaving in 1974 aged just 27. Northern Ireland did manage to qualify for the 1982 World Cup, but despite being considered Best was not selected due to age and alcoholism.
One of the greatest African footballers of all time, George Weah was voted African Player of the Year in 1989, 1994 and 1995, but has the sad infamy of being the only World Footballer of the Year to fail to qualify for the World Cup with his national team. During his 15 year career with the Liberia National Team, the closest Weah came was falling a point short in qualifying for the 2002 tournament.
The original Galáctico, Alfredo di Stéfano had an incredible career in which he won the European Champions Cup five consecutive times for Real Madrid in the 1950s, and scored 216 times in 282 matches. In his first two attempts to make the World Cup (with Argentina), FIFA refused to allow Argentina to participate in 1950, and di Stéfano couldn't participate in 1954 due to getting a cap for Columbia. Afterwards, di Stéfano was allowed to participate for Spain internationally, but failed to qualify in 1958 and was injured for the 1962 World Cup.
Despite a great career at Manchester United, it wasn't the same story with the French national team. During the mid-1990's Eric Cantona was a regular starter and was just a draw away from the World Cup before a loss to Bulgaria in their final qualifier. He became captain of the French national team before his Kung-fu kick incident in 1995 ended his career with France, but not before Cantona scored 20 times in 45 appearances.
A great midfielder for Arsenal in the 1970's, Liam Brady also impressed in Italy with Juventus, Sampdoria and Inter Milan, but he wasn't able to bring his native Ireland to the World Cup. During 15 years of service with Ireland, Brady accumulated 72 caps but never played in a major tournament due to suspension in Euro 1988 and retirement during qualifying for the 1990 World Cup.
One of the best German footballers of his generation, Bernd Schuster retired prematurely from the West German national team at the age of 24 in 1984. Schuster had some of his best seasons with Barcelona and Real Madrid, but left the national side due to repeated disagreements with the German Football Association, although Schuster did play 22 times and four goals during his short international career.
One of the members of the French squad during the early 1990's, David Ginola was blamed for France's loss and failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, after he overhit a cross in the final moments of their qualifier which Bulgaria went on to score from. Afterwards, Ginola moved to England and never again played for the French after 1995. France went on to win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 without Ginola.
A combination of remaining loyal to Southampton and playing in a generation of good English strikers, probably cost Le Tissier his chance to feature at a World Cup. England failed to qualify in 1994 but Le Tissier’s best chance was 1998, unfortunately through a combination of his Southampton side struggling in the Premier League, and the likes of Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham and Michael Owen, Le Tissier was overlooked.
One of football's most enigmatic characters, you feel a World Cup would have been lit up by Di Canio's antics. Despite a playing career with Lazio, Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan and a failed bid from Manchester United to sign Di Canio from West Ham, his international career with Italy never got started. Di Canio represented the U21 side, but was never able to force his way past Italian strikers like Baggio, Del Piero, Vialli, Totti, Inzaghi and Vieri.Alongside these great footballers, here's a list of ten more players who have never played in a World Cup; Ian Rush, Andrei Arshavin, Emlyn Hughes, Sami Hyypia, Mark Hughes, Tony Yeboah, Jari Litmanen, Laszlo Kubala, Andrei Kanchelskis and Abedi Pele.
The World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in world football, however, there are many great players who've never had the chance to make an impact on football's biggest stage as they have done in club football. Share your opinions and join the conversation online, on Twitter and on Facebook.