World Cup Fever: Spain Panic over Diego Costa fitness

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Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque has delayed naming his final World Cup squad in the hope that Diego Costa will recover from a hamstring problem.

The Atletico Madrid striker suffered the problem in the last La Liga game of the season, as his side clinched the title, and was rushed back to fitness so he could feature in the Champions League final on Saturday.


But the 25-year-old managed just nine minutes of the 4-1 extra-time defeat to Real Madrid and is now a major doubt for the World Cup in Brazil.

Del Bosque, 63, originally intended to reduce his preliminary 30-man squad to 23 on Sunday, ahead of the FIFA deadline of June 2, but has instead selected 19 players for Spain’s upcoming friendly against Bolivia on May 30.

The squad does not include any Atletico or Real Madrid players, who have been given an extended break, and Del Bosque insists that “nobody is discarded”.

Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu, on loan at Everton last season, has been called up for Friday’s friendly and Del Bosque says the youngster will “top the list” should they need a replacement in the final squad, but the Spain boss will have his eyes firmly set on Costa, who faces a race to be fit for their Group D opener with Holland on June 13.

Costa has been prolific for Atletico this season, scoring 35 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions, and he has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea this summer.

The Brazilian-born forward began his international career with his home country, handed two caps in early 2013, but was granted permission to play for Spain after achieving Spanish nationality last summer.

He made his debut for Spain on March 5 in a 1-0 friendly victory over Italy at his club’s stadium; the Vicente Calderon in Madrid.

Spain squad vs Bolivia: Pepe Reina, David De Gea, Gerard Pique, Raul Albiol, Javi Martinez, Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta, Alberto Moreno, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Santi Cazorla, Ander Iturraspe, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, David Silva, Pedro Rodriquez, Fernando Torres, Gerard Deulofeu.



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