Costa set to for Spain debut

2014-02-28 15:36
Diego Costa (AFP)

Madrid - Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa could make his debut for Spain after being named in Vicente del Bosque's 22-man squad for the world champions' friendly at home to Italy on March 5.

Costa completed the nationalisation process that allowed him to switch allegiances from Brazil to Spain in time for La Roja's friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa last November, but was forced to miss both games due to injury.

He is now expected to make his bow on home soil at the Vicente Calderon after scoring 27 times in all competitions this season.

"His is a singular case, he was born in Brazil but he has formed into a footballer in Spain and has shown in his club that he deserves to come into the squad, that is why we have called him up."

Gerard Pique is the only significant absentee through injury from the final match Spain will play before Del Bosque names his squad to defend the World Cup in Brazil later this year.

There was disappointment for David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata as all three were left out.

However, Del Bosque insisted that there was still plenty of time for those left out of the squad to make their case for a World Cup berth between now and the end of the season.

"This is a list exclusively for the game against Italy. We have practically three months of the season in front of us which could ratify those in this list or include others."

Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara is rewarded for his impressive form for the Bundesliga champions with a call-up to the senior squad for the first time this season.

Torres' Chelsea teammate Cesar Azpilicueta is also included for the first time since the Confederations Cup ahead of Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa.

The match will be a rematch of the 2012 European Championsip final, which Spain won 4-0.

However, both sides played out a far more competitive clash in the semi-finals of last year's Confederations Cup semi-final with Spain only progressing on penalties after a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes.

And the former Real Madrid boss is expecting another stiff test as preparation for a demanding start to their World Cup campaign as they face against Holland and Chile in their first two games in Brazil.

"Italy is one of the best teams in the world. They have a base of Juventus players and we have had tough meetings with them.

"The Confederations Cup game was agonising and the final of the Euros was one of the best games we have played."

Spain squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich/GER), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA)

Midfielders: Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG)

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo (both Manchester City/ENG), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

Read more on:    diego costa  |  soccer

Balotelli won't disrupt Reds

2014-08-22 20:53


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs

Will Shakes Mashaba ensure Bafana Bafana qualify for AFCON 2015?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.