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If Spain tinkers, Costa ready for World Cup chance

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 10, 2014 at 11:51 am •  Published: June 10, 2014

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — If Spain decides to tinker with the possession-based system that has given it so much success, striker Diego Costa is ready.

Even if the World Cup champions don't change their style, that suits the Brazilian-born forward just fine too.

Costa said Tuesday he has fully recovered from a nagging hamstring injury that dogged him over the close of the club season and is ready to seize his chance for the defending champions in his native Brazil.

He just needs coach Vicente del Bosque to give him the chance, starting with the Group B opener against the Netherlands on Friday.

"Every day I feel better. I'm very motivated, I think I'm 100 percent and ready," said Costa, who played 73 minutes of Saturday's 2-0 friendly victory over El Salvador. "I can't wait for the competition to start."

Costa scored 36 goals in all competitions for Spanish champion Atletico Madrid but has yet to make his mark in two appearances for Spain.

Costa's ability to exploit space plus his on-field grit provides Spain with a physical complement to its slick combination passing game generated from midfield.

Del Bosque said in an interview published Monday that Spain players are not "tiki-taka Talibans," suggesting that team tactics could be changed if necessary. The former Real Madrid coach has tinkered with his formations at every tournament since taking over the national side in 2008.

Whether he decides to give Costa an opportunity against the Netherlands is uncertain, even with the Dutch stating they will play five defenders. Del Bosque could opt to use Cesc Fabregas in the deep-lying 'false striker' position.

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