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The coach has dismissed fears that La Roja will struggle to score goals if the prolific Atletico Madrid striker does not recover from his muscle injury

Vicente Del Bosque has denied that Spain's chances of retaining their World Cup crown will suffer if Diego Costa is not fit to feature.

Del Bosque took a gamble and included the Atletico Madrid striker in his final squad despite Costa struggling to recover from a muscle injury he sustained during the Rojiblancos’ Champions League final defeat to city rivals Real.

The Spain coach is hoping that the 25-year-old – who scored 36 goals in all competitions last season for his club side – will spearhead the team’s attack ahead of Fernando Torres and David Villa.

Although his recovery has been slow, Costa trained normally with the Spain squad on Monday ahead of their final friendly before travelling to Brazil.

When asked whether La Roja would be handicapped if Costa was not fully fit for the tournament, Del Bosque told TOI: “People asked the same during the [2012] European Championship. We were the champions despite playing, as they said, 4-6-0.

“Costa has played really well this season. He is the man in form and we shall love him to be on the field for Spain.

“But if he is not fully fit, I'll have to take a call before I announce the final team. However, I sincerely believe he will be fit before the World Cup.”

Spain will be looking to retain the title they won in 2010 this summer in Brazil, although they will face stiff competition from the hosts, who defeated them in the Confederations Cup last year.

However, Del Bosque has called on his players to first concentrate on getting out of their group – which includes Chile, Australia and 2010 runners-up Netherlands – and then show their quality by beating the best sides, including Brazil.

“We need to qualify first for the knockout round. That is the first target. Once we achieve it, we shall be able to think about our opponent,” he said.

“One thing is for sure: you cannot pick and choose your opponents in a World Cup. And you need to play and win against bigger opponents in the knockout stages to become world champions.”

He added: “I believe we can [win the World Cup again].

“They [the team] are older with experience. To win the biggest tournament, you need a proper balance of youth and experience – and we have it.

"The players may have won three big tournaments on the trot, yet, they are hungry to win more.”
 

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