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Costa reminds Spain why they asked him to switch allegiance

June 16, 2018 10:40 AM
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Five years since the Brazilian-born forward turned his back on his home nation and "signed" for Vicente del Bosque's Spain, Diego Costa has finally given a big match performance to win Spanish hearts.

Barcelona (dpa) - "Not enough luck and too much Ronaldo" was the front-page headline on Spain's Diario AS newspaper as the country did its best to look on the bright side of an opening game draw.

But if Ronaldo's treble for Portugal - aided by David de Gea's mistake - had been the bad news from Friday night in Sochi, then Diego Costa was definitely the good news.

He marked his best performance for Spain with two goals, looking a different player from the one who made his tournament debut for Spain in Brazil four years ago.

Costa switched allegiances from Brazil to Spain in 2013, just ahead of the last World Cup. Vicente del Bosque worked hard to persuade him to make the move, and most Spaniards greeted his arrival to the squad with optimism that he was the forward the national team desperately needed.

But as Spain limped out of the tournament in Brazil, Costa made no impact and his place on the side has been under scrutiny every since.

"This doesn't end the debate about who should play up front. The debate is healthy. I need to keep playing well." Coach Fernando Hierro was full of praise for Costa, saying: "I was happy with the whole team but he led the line well."

Diario AS picked him as Spain's best player, saying: "At last a great game from Costa. One opportunist goal and another made from nothing. He was decisive."

Porutugal coach Fernando Santos said: "Our penalty was legitimate, but their first goal comes after a foul from Costa on Pepe." Marca echoed the praise for Costa suggesting: "The debate before the World Cup was all about who should play in attack; now the debate is about the goalkeeper."

It is unlikely that de Gea's position will now be contested the way Costa's was after that poor World Cup four years ago, but the attention has certainly switched from one end of the pitch to the other.

Costa now has nine goals for Spain and has made an excellent start in the race for the tournament's top-scorer crown.

Source: thesundaily.my

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