Scolari against Diego Costa representing Spain

The Atletico Madrid striker's decision to represent his adopted country does not sit well with the Selecao coach, who nevertheless refused to assure him of a place in his plans

Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has spoken out against Diego Costa’s decision to spurn the country of his birth and represent Spain at international level.

Speculation surrounding the Atletico Madrid forward’s international future has been rife since he expressed a willingness to switch his allegiance from the 2014 World Cup hosts to the reigning world and European champions.

And Scolari explained that he did not support Costa’s decision, but stopped short of guaranteeing the striker a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad should he change his mind.

“He [Costa] is one of the 45 players I have on my list,” he said at a press conference. “The Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF] said that he was not going to be allowed to join the Spanish national team. I was asked through e-mail whether I would be ok with that and I gave my thoughts.

“I'm still the coach here so I can say what I think. I can't fight against laws, but within my evaluation criteria, he's one of the players that are part of my team, initially, and that could or could not be on the final list.”

When asked directly if he was against Costa joining Spain’s international set up, Scolari simply replied: “Yes.”

One player who is certain to be named to Brazil’s squad for the finals is Barcelona star Neymar, who was celebrated by Scolari for not only his talent, but his humble personality, which he said contradicted his public perception.

“It is very easy to have a player like Neymar on the team,” he enthused. “He's so dedicated, he loves playing football, he's got a lot of personality and he behaves very well, on and off the pitch.

“He doesn't behave like a star. He's completely different from what most people might think. I hope he continues to be like that, because for us, it's great.”

Scolari also reflected on Brazil’s fortunes in 2013, and hailed his side for rounding into a more complete outfit after a shaky start to the year, including a triumphant Confederations Cup campaign on home soil.

"I think that it was a great year,” he added. “After the first few games we were still trying to find the best formation and then the pieces to that formation. Now we have everything.

“From the last few friendlies before the Confederations Cup, we managed to put this puzzle together and to get 10 victories out of 11 matches, if I'm not mistaken. Today we are in a much better condition, and we can say that our team is very balanced."