A 4-0 win over Luxembourg is generally not the kind of result Spain would find great reason to celebrate recently, smashing the minnow is a far cry from lifting World Cups, but it was a much-needed result for La Furia Roja.
The match partly erased memories of Spain’s 2-1 shock defeat to Slovakia, saw them keep a clean sheet for the first in this qualification campaign and even featured a first international goal for Diego Costa.
Up until then the Chelsea striker had failed to net in eight appearance for Brazil and Spain, a surprising drought considering his prolificacy for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
With that monkey now successfully removed from his back, it should be business as usual for Costa for both club and country, starting with Chelsea’s trip to Crystal Palace, a match the Blues are 2/5 to win.
However, for Spain at least, Costa’s place spearheading the attack looks increasingly under threat, with Valencia youngster Paco Alcacer starting the season in terrific form.
The 21-year-old has already registered four goals and four assists in seven league games for Los Che. Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have directly contributed to more goals in La Liga this term.
Alcacer has made a similarly impressive start in a Spain shirt, scoring three times in his first four appearances for the 2010 World Champions, compared to Costa’s sluggish one in seven.
The youngster played alongside Costa against Luxembourg, but if Vicente Del Bosque reverts to one forward in future there is no guarantee it is the Chelsea man who will keep his place.
Not only is his form in a red shirt decidedly iffy, Costa’s problematic injury record might limit his international involvement, especially with Jose Mourinho kicking up a fuss every time a Spain squad is announced.
Alcacer is based in Spain and, unlike Costa, has never represented another country. It wouldn’t be surprising if the press and La Furia Roja fans in general got behind the 21-year-old in a battle with Costa for a starting spot.
The youngster’s next domestic game is away at Deportivo La Coruna, where Valencia are 87/100 to win.