By 90Min
November 29, 2017

Next summer's World Cup in Russia promises to be a spectacular sporting event, with a lot of big-hitting nations lining up once again.

Holders Germany will likely be the early favourites for the trophy going into the tournament, given their recent dominance of international football, and there could be strong campaigns from the likes of Spain, France, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium and... dare we say... England?!

Perhaps that's going a bit too far, but the Three Lions are a big-hitting football nation despite their dismal tournament failures over the years, and unlike some teams, they will be at least present in Russia next year.

As everybody is aware, there have been some rather big casualties this time around as a result of the gruelling qualifying process, and the tournament will be missing some nations most would have expected to be there.

Image by Tom Procter

90min presented readers with a poll asking which team they would miss the most in Russia and interestingly, Italy were the runaway leaders with 62% of the vote.

The Azzurri, make no bones about it, are a glaring omission from next year's tournament. The team, led to the embarrassing failure by Gian Piero Ventura, couldn't defeat Sweden in their playoff and have subsequently missed out on their first finals since 1958.

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Disgraced Ventura was dismissed as head coach and president of the Italian Football Federation Carlo Tavecchio resigned from his post, underlining the severity of the situation, but fans seemingly can't help but feel the nation will be missed in Russia.

The four times winners and twice runners-up are one of only a few teams that instantly spring to mind when the World Cup is mentioned, and they have certainly brought passion and pizzazz to the picture down the years.

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

It is possible that a number of readers might have voted for Italy because of Gianluigi Buffon. The pictures following the Sweden game were particularly hard to digest as the veteran stopper's emotions got the better of him - his hunger and desire are unquestionable, and he will be a huge miss next summer. But the fact remains, Italy simply weren't good enough and the romantic point of view people seem to have of the nation ought to cease.

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The Netherlands came second in the poll vote with 19% - they are another big nation that will be absent next year. Under Dick Advocaat's management they failed to secure even a playoff spot as France and Sweden progressed.

The 2010 finalists are a world away from where they want to be right now, which is back in the mix to win the tournament, something they have never done before.

The 'home nations' didn't fare too well in the poll; Republic or Ireland came third with 8%, Wales came fourth with 6% and Northern Ireland and Scotland got 3% and 2% respectively.

These nations have not featured as frequently at World Cup finals as Holland or Italy, which is perhaps a reason for their poor performance in the poll.

That said, the fans of Northern Ireland and their 'Will Grigg's on Fire' will be definitely be missed, as will Wales and their superstar Gareth Bale and the Republic of Ireland with the unpredictable Roy Keane on their management team, but it would appear football fans are adamant - the World Cup is going to have one massive lo Stivale-shaped hole next summer.

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