Defending world and European champions Spain are seemingly in danger of becoming something of a forgotten force as 13/2 fourth-favourites in the World Cup 2014 betting.
Naturalising the formidable Brazilian striker Diego Costa should make punters sit up and notice, with the Atletico Madrid powerhouse’s presence a boon to La Roja’s chances of becoming the first side to retain the trophy since Brazil in 1962.
Costa leads La Liga with 10 strikes in eight games this season.
The Atleti man has left Fernando Llorente, Robert Soldado and Alvaro Negredo (the other more traditional strikers that have been in around the Spain squad in recent years) for dust in league scoring terms this season, with five more strikes than closer pursuer Negredo.
More impressively still he has outscored Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, despite averaging less shots per game than that more-heralded twosome.
His aggressive style of play brings something different to La Furia Roja.
Admittedly Llorente and Negredo aren’t lacking for physical presence on the field of battle, but neither can match the level of belligerence and aggression shown on the pitch by Costa, a man nobody can enjoy playing against.
Although Spain’s attack is ingenious, their period of international dominance has lacked a player who can intimidate the opposition with his demeanour as much as with his ability and the Atletico hero is an explosive weapon that can add more than his fair share of devilment to Vicente Del Bosque’s armoury.
Atletico Madrid homies Juanfran, Koke and Mario Suarez may well join him on the plane.
A player so prone to upsetting opposition fans and players will need allies to help him settle in to a squad he may have infuriated large portions of during the domestic campaign if he is to be a productive World Cup contributor.
Luckily for our friend Diego his club side’s superb form has seen a trio of his Vicente Calderon pals called up for Spain’s upcoming games against Belarus – who they can be backed to beat (-2) at 18/25 – and Georgia.