Spain, Portugal WC Squads Confirmed, Big Stars Snubbed
Spain, Portugal 2018 FIFA World Cup Squads Confirmed, Biggest Stars Snubbed
Next up in our 2018 FIFA World Cup preview is Group B, in which Spain and Portugal's final 23-man squads made the headlines, while a former Bafana Bafana boss as well as another recent candidate for the job will look to upset the two European giants.
Click through the gallery above to see the biggest stars who were snubbed from Group B's squads.
Group B starts with a bang, with 2016 UEFA European Championship winners Portugal facing 2010 FIFA World Cup winners Spain on Friday, 15 June. The European giants will go head to head, while Herve Renard's Morocco will face Carlos Queiroz's Iran.
Spain boss Julen Lopetegui left high-profile players such as Chelsea forwards Alvaro Morata and Pedro Rodriguez, their teammate Marcos Alonso, and FC Barcelona right-back Sergi Roberto out of his final World Cup squad.
His Portugal counterpart Fernando Santos also had some tough decisions to make, and snubbed Barcelona duo Andre Gomes and Nelson Semedo, as well as Euro 2016 Young Player of the Tournament Renato Sanches.
Meanwhile, Renard's Morocco are currently on a run of 17 games without a defeat, and qualified from their group without conceding a single goal. The Frenchman was linked with the Bafana job before Stuart Baxter took over, and will face Queiroz, who coached South Africa between 2000 and 2002. The latter's Iran side went unbeaten in 18 games through two Asian World Cup qualification rounds.
First round of fixtures
15 June, 18:00 – Morocco vs Iran, Krestovsky Stadium
15 June, 21:00 – Portugal vs Spain, Fisht Olympic Stadium
Full squad listings
Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)
Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham United), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)
Goalkeepers: Alireza Beyranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)
Defenders: Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Ramin Rezaeian (Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Sadd), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiacos)
Midfielders: Saeid Ezatollahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiacos)
Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Mahdi Taremi (Al Gharafa), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Heerenveen), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis)
Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (Numancia), Yassine Bounou (Girona), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (Ittihad Tanger)
Defenders: Mehdi Benatia (Juventus), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Manuel da Costa (Basaksehir), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid), Hamza Mendyl (Lille)
Midfielders: M'barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray), Faycal Fajr (Getafe), Amine Harit (Schalke 04)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli), Ayoub El Kaabi (Renaissance Berkane), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax Amsterdam), Youssef En Nesyri (Malaga)
Which two teams do you think will advance from Group B? Have your say in the comments section below.