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World Cup chit-chat: Injured Costa included in Spain's World Cup squad

Last updated on: May 31, 2014 17:43 IST

Injured Costa included in Spain's World Cup squad



Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has included Diego Costa in his final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals despite the Brazil-born forward's recent injury woes.

The Atletico Madrid striker has been suffering with a series of muscle problems and limped out of last Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid early in the first half.

Spain have one more warm-up game, against El Salvador in Washington DC on June 7, before the tournament in Brazil when Del Bosque can test Costa's fitness.

If he does not recover sufficiently, Spain can replace him in the squad up to 24 hours before their opening Group B match against Netherlands on June 13 as long as they can prove his injury is serious enough to prevent his participation.

As well as Costa, Del Bosque included fellow forwards Fernando Torres of Chelsea, who netted a penalty in Friday's 2-0 friendly win against Bolivia in Seville, and David Villa, Spain's record scorer.

There was no place for winger Jesus Navas, who missed the final part of the Premier League season with an ankle injury, or his Manchester City team mate Alvaro Negredo.

Real Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal was also left out, with Del Bosque preferring the more experienced Juanfran of Real's city rivals Atletico.

Chile and Australia make up Group B and Spain's first game is against Netherlands on June 13, a repeat of the 2010 final which Spain won 1-0 after extra time.

Del Bosque announced his final squad on the Spanish soccer federation's website ( on Saturday.


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)

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

Midfielders: Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

Image: Diego Costa (left) with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque
Photographs: Sergio Perez/Reuters


World Cup chit-chat: England enjoy win over Peru in last home warm-up

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England overcame some stubborn resistance from a well-organised defensive Peru side before sealing a comfortable 3-0 win in their last home World Cup warm-up match at Wembley on Friday.

England head off to their final training camp in Miami boosted by an excellent opener from Daniel Sturridge after 32 minutes which lit up a lifeless first half.

Two second-half goals from set-pieces by central defenders Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka gave England a deserved win in the first match between the two countries since they last met 52 years ago just before the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

Peru, who failed to reach this year's finals in Brazil after a poor campaign in the South American qualifiers, defended well and Jean Deza stood out in midfield with a solid performance, forcing England goalkeeper Joe Hart into two good saves.

He also had a 40-metre shot that swirled and dipped and just went over the bar.

"It was a wonderful send off to the World Cup by a quite incredible crowd," England manager Roy Hodgson told ITV.

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Image: Steven Gerrard of England congratulates Daniel Sturridge of England on scoring the opening goal
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Spain's Torres shines in 2-0 win against Bolivia

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Spain striker Fernando Torres made a strong case for a World Cup place when he capped an impressive performance with a well-taken penalty as the depleted holders strolled to a 2-0 win over Bolivia on Friday.

In the world and European champions’ penultimate warm-up game before they begin the defence of their title in Brazil next month, Torres made the most of his starting place up front and substitute Andres Iniesta was also on target as Spain ruthlessly dominated the defence-minded South Americans in Seville.

Bolivia, who failed to qualify for the World Cup finals, managed to hold out until halftime before Javi Martinez was bundled over in the penalty area and Torres calmly slotted the spot kick past Romel Quinonez in the 51st minute.

It was the 30–year-old Chelsea forward's 37th goal in 107 appearances for Spain after an indifferent season with his club and he will hope to have done enough to be included in coach Vicente del Bosque's final squad to be announced on Saturday.Chances were scarce for both sides at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, with Cesar Azpilicueta striking a long-range effort against the post in the 30th minute and Torres forcing a sharp save from Quinonez shortly before the break.

Iniesta showed his class when he surged forward in the 84th minute and curled a low effort in off a post and Sergio Busquets crashed a long-range drive off the frame of the goal moments later as the home side pressed forward in the final stages.

Spain were missing their Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid contingent, who are on holiday following their clash in Saturday's Champions League final and will join up with the rest of the squad on Monday.

Spain, whose final warm-up match is against El Salvador in Washington DC on June 7, have been drawn in Group B at the World Cup finals with Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Their first game is against the Dutch on June 13, a repeat of the 2010 final which Spain won 1-0 after extra time.

Spain and Bolivia were playing each other for only the second time after they met at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, a 3-1 group-phase victory for the Spanish in Chicago.

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Image: Fernando Torres of Spain competes for the ball with Ronald Equino of Bolivia
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Stuani gives Uruguay friendly win as Suarez looks on

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Uruguay missed the clinical finishing of convalescent Luis Suarez when they beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in a World Cup warm-up on Friday.

Only a fine display by visiting goalkeeper Roy Carroll and a poor final touch by the home side in front of goal at the Centenario, site of the first World Cup final won by Uruguay in 1930, prevented a rout

Substitute Christian Stuani, who came on at halftime for Diego Forlan, put the dominant Uruguayans ahead in the 61st minute from fellow striker Edinson Cavani's pass.

Suarez, England's Footballer of the Year after a brilliant season for Liverpool, is recovering from knee cartilage surgery eight days ago that put his presence at the Brazil finals in doubt.

He has been given a 50-50 chance of making it to the tournament in the 23-man squad coach Oscar Tabarez must name by Monday's deadline.

Uruguay are in a tough Group D along with fellow former world champions Italy and England plus Costa Rica, opening against the latter on June 14.

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Image: Cristhian Stuani of Uruguay runs with the bal
Photographs: Winnie Pessentheiner/Getty Images

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Dzeko brace as Bosnia beat Ivory Coast in warmup

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Striker Edin Dzeko scored a double to lead Bosnia to a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast in an international friendly in Missouri on Friday.

Dzeko scored once each half to give Bosnia a 2-0 lead before Didier Drogba scored a late consolation goal for Ivory Coast, Africa's highest ranked national team.

With both teams having qualified for next month's World Cup, Friday's match gave both sides a chance to limber up for the tournament with little pressure.

Bosnia, who are heading to the World Cup for the first time, dominated the match but squandered a series of opportunities to score.

Dzeko, Bosnia's all-time leading international scorer, gave the eastern Europeans the lead after just 17 minutes when he rifled a shot into the back of the net from just inside the box.

Ivory Coast's goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo had saved a shot from Edin Visca but his block ricocheted straight to the feet of Dzeko, who made no mistake with his shot.

Dzeko scored again in the 53rd minute, controlling Miralem Pjanic's cross with his first touch and volleying the ball into the net on his second.

Bosnia play Mexico in a friendly in Chicago on Tuesday before flying to Brazil to finish off their preparations for the World Cup, where they are drawn in Group F with Argentina, Iran and Nigeria.

Ivory Coast's next warm-up match is against El Salvador in suburban Dallas next Wednesday. The Africans are in the Group C at the World Cup, along with Colombia, Greece and Japan.

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Image: Bosnia player Edin Dzeko, centre, battles for the ball between Ivory Coast players Ismael Tiote Cheik and Didier Zokora
Photographs: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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Brazil bank on best friends for firm backbone

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Brazil are betting on defensive partners and best friends David Luiz and Thiago Silva to protect their sterling record at the back as they go into the World Cup finals next month.

The two men have formed a formidable partnership under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Brazil conceded three goals in their five Confederations Cup games last year and have won seven of their eight matches since, giving away only three more.

The pairing is one of the reasons Brazil are favourites to win a record sixth World Cup and David Luiz said part of their understanding is because the two men, who will play together next season at Paris St-Germain, are close friends off the pitch.

“Thiago is a great friend, a great player and I get along very well with him,” said David Luiz, who left Chelsea to sign for the Paris club earlier this month. “We met at the national side and since then we’ve always kept in close touch.

“Now I am going to have to spend more time with him than with my family,” the 27-year-old told a news conference at Brazil’s training camp outside Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s not often that we get a chance to play alongside such a quality player like him, much less such a nice guy. It’s very easy to deal with a colleague and a friend like him.

“I was very happy at Chelsea, I won big titles, made greatfriends and I gained respect there,” David Luiz added, “but I think it was time for a change and to begin a new period in my life in Paris after the World Cup.”

“We know that this partnership can help us both, but if David and Thiago aren’t ready to run then it’s worthless,” he said. (PSG and Brazil) will have two players who will give their all.”

Both players could be rested for at least one of Brazil’s last two warm-up games next week against Panama and Serbia. But David Luiz at least, said he wants to play.

Image: From left, Brazilian national football team players Marcelo, Thiago Silva and David Luiz joke at the squad's Granja Comary training complex, in Teresopolis, 90 km from downtown Rio de Janeiro
Photographs: Rafael Ribeiro/CBF via Getty Images

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