In the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat that ended Spain’s World Cup defence few of his teammates will have noticed Special Agent Diego Costa slip into the night.
Having just completed his three-part mission to bolster Brazil’s chances of exorcising the ghosts of their 1950 defeat on home soil at great personal cost, the Atletico Madrid hitman was due a cold beer and a moment of reflection.
Elsewhere his countrymen have been doing their bit, releasing themselves from some of the pressures of expectation with two unconvincing performances, slipping to 19/5 second-favourites to win the tournament in the process.
Although it won’t appear in any history books, the Selecao players and staff won’t forget Costa’s contribution in a hurry, details of which news.bwin.com/en/ has come into possession of…
Objective one: Unite the nation in and anger and disbelief.
What better way to bring together the Brazilian footballing public than in horrified incredulity that one of their own would forsake the call of destiny?
The Lagarto-born striker’s defection provoked such vitriol in the land of ‘joga bonito’ that their football association even called for his passport to be revoked.
Objective two: Force the reigning champions to water down their playing style.
Having made his availability as an international swapsie impossible to ignore with a breakout 36-strike season in La Liga, Costa made himself an irresistible selection for Vicente del Bosque.
Not since the days of Mata Hari has such a honeytrap been executed, with the moustachioed tactician lured into compromising everything his team stood for by the promise of goals beyond his wildest dreams.
Objective three: Help the Selecao avoid Chile in the second round at all costs.
Getting that penalty against the Dutch might not have seemed like part of the plan, but, ever conscious of not-blowing his cover, small concessions had to be made.
Half-fit and sluggish, his presence jammed La Roja’s shortwave attacking communiqués, handing the Dutch a flattering win that will have them over confident and cherry ripe to be picked off by Chile in the final match of Group B.
As a result Brazil will avoid a clash with South American neighbours whom they struggled to best in two meetings last year if, as expected, they win group A.