The story

They are football's royalty, the marquee players whose almost super human ability on the ball wins cups and championships; their faces adorn billboards and magazine covers from China to Columbia.

But, amazingly, the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery may all be absent from the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Qualification for next year's tournament has thrown up a host of surprise results with a number of top teams, including Argentina, Portugal, France and Egypt all in serious danger of missing out - CNN lists the potential high-profile casualties. Read full article »