Pitchside

Timid Costa fails to shine in Spain debut

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Diego Costa was drafted into the Spain attack to provide the blood and thunder he has displayed for Atletico Madrid this season while terrorising La Liga defences but the Brazil-born forward failed to sparkle in his debut against Italy.

It was a timid display from Costa, who turned his back on the chance to play for Brazil so as to turn out for his adopted country, and he failed to leave his mark on a match decided by Pedro's strike just after the hour.

"It was great to have my debut and that the team won. The boss put his confidence in me and just asked me to do what I have been doing for Atletico," Costa told reporters.

"I will try and do my best for Atletico and the national team. I know that the first games are never easy and I know that I can give a lot more.

"I will keep working hard but this has given me confidence."

Costa has been involved in some fiery clashes between Atletico and city rivals Real Madrid recently but there was no ill-feeling between the players when he pulled on the national shirt.

"I dreamt of scoring a goal and that was not possible but I will remember the support that I received especially from my teammates," he said.

"I didn't expect that. I got on well with (Real Madrid defender) Sergio Ramos and we are now like brothers."

The double European Champions and World Cup holders travel to Brazil this summer looking to retain the trophy but coach Vicente del Bosque was yet to have a settled forward line in place despite his many options.

With David Villa now past his best and Fernando Torres struggling for form, Del Bosque has tried out a number of strikers including Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente.

At Euro 2012 he even played without a clear striker in several games.

Against Italy, it was Barcelona's Pedro who boosted his chances of a World Cup starting place with a lively performance as well as the goal.

"I feel in good form and comfortable in the team," Pedro told reporters. "It was a good win for us that will give us confidence ahead of the World Cup.

"We were up against a strong side in Italy. It is true that in recent games we have been able to beat them but they are a tough rival and at the World Cup it will be very different."

Spain are in Group B in the World Cup finals alongwith Netherlands, Chile and Australia.

Reuters

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