thumbnail Hello,

The Atletico Madrid striker saw his club season curtailed by a hamstring injury but has recovered in time to lead the line for Vicente del Bosque's world champions

Diego Costa will lead the line for Spain when they get their 2014 World Cup campaign under way against Netherlands in Salvador on Friday.

Costa, who controversially turned down Brazil - the country of his birth - to represent the reigning world champions at this tournament, had been struggling with a hamstring injury which plagued the end of his season with Atletico Madrid.

But Vicente del Bosque has deemed the 25-year-old fit to start up front as La Roja gear up for a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final in Soccer City, Johannesburg.

The strong Spain starting XI also features Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Silva and Champions League winners Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas, though Chelsea's new signing Cesc Fabregas starts on the bench.

As expected, Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has selected a five-man defence to try and contain the world champions, with Daryl Janmaat and Daley Blind operating as wing-backs.

In midfield, Jonathan de Guzman has recovered in time to start ahead of Jordi Clasie, while Wesley Sneijder will hope to provide the ammunition for Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben up front.

It is a fitting occasion for Sneijeder in particular, who earns his 100th cap against the 2010 champions, though he insisted earlier this week that he was not out to avenge their defeat in South Africa.

"Earning your 100th cap at the World Cup in Brazil is certainly special in itself, and it’s going to be against Spain, one of the best teams in the world," he said earlier this week.

"Obviously I'm hoping I can mark this milestone with a victory. That would be perfect. But it's not about taking revenge for our defeat in the 2010 final, it's a completely new game."


Related