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May 26, 2014

Scolari: Costa would have made cut

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno gives his take on Felipe Scolari's picks for the Brazil as they prepare for the World Cup.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said injured Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa would have made the final 23-man World Cup squad for Brazil had he opted to play for the country of his birth.

ESPN Brazil: Scolari's 23

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque did not name any Atletico or Madrid players in his 19-man squad for Friday's warm-up friendly against Bolivia in Seville, but said that he did not plan to include any players who were less than 100 percent fit in the final squad.

"I would have called him up for the World Cup," Scolari said during an interview with Estadao. "Did I make a mistake? I don't know. He would have been in the World Cup for Brazil. I spoke with him twice about this. The problem is that there are other interests behind everything. Diego Costa being a naturalized Spanish citizen, opens a space in Europe. Everything is a game of interests, it is of no use. You are held hostage in certain situations and he didn't want to."

Scolari mentioned the instances in which Brazil called up Costa teammates Miranda and Filipe as well as the example of PSG left back Maxwell as examples of the challenges national team coaches face with dual nationality potential.

"They (players in these situations) talk amongst themselves," Scolari said. "But Diego Costa would have been with us. He can play like a 7, a 9 or even an 11. We even thought about putting him out in front to run, bump. He is a beast, strong as a bull."

Scolari also said that in any projected round of 16 match-up he would rather not face Chile, which is in Group B along with defending champion Spain, Netherlands and Australia.

Don't forget that Chile are a complicated rival, I would rather not face them despite all the statistics that show that Brazil always beats Chile," he said.

Regarding the wave of protests in Brazil over World Cup preparations and the lag in finishing work on the stadiums, Scolari said "problems off the pitch with the World Cup are not our responsibility."

Brazil debuts on June 12 vs. Croatia at Corinthians stadium in Sao Paolo in Group A, which also includes Mexico and Cameroon.

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