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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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FIFA reveals World XI midfielders shortlist

Spain's Euro 2012 winners dominate the shortlist for the midfielders category of FIFA/FIFPro's World XI 2012, with six of their players among the 15 candidates.

• FIFA World XI defenders shortlist

The shortlist for the XI, which is a combined venture of FIFA and world players' union FIFPro, was selected by professional footballers from around the world.

Barcelona pair Xavi and Iniesta have been selected for the past three years in succession, and were joined in the 2011 team by Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso.

The trio are among the candidates again this year, along with Spain team-mates David Silva, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas.

Seven of the 15 players ply their trade in La Liga, while the Premier League has five players, the Bundesliga two and Serie A just one in Andrea Pirlo. Juventus and Italy midfielder Pirlo has been on the shortlist for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI for each of the seven seasons since its inception, with Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard also able to boast that honour.

Lampard's Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard, who was named Ligue 1's Player of the Year, is the only debutant on the list.

The final XI will be announced at the FIFA Ballon d'Or gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 7, 2013.

The 15-man shortlist for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI 2012:

Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Spain, Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Germany, Real Madrid), Andrea Pirlo (Italy, Juventus), Franck Ribery (France, Bayern Munich), David Silva (Spain, Manchester City), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Manchester City), Xavi Hernandez (Spain, Barcelona)

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