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May 27, 2014

Del Bosque yet to decide on Costa

Former Real Madrid midfielder Santiago Solari breaks down how Diego Costa's injury affects his World Cup spot with Spain.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque says he will wait until the last moment before deciding whether to include Diego Costa in his 23-man squad for the coming World Cup.

Train: Spain's defensive worries

Having switched allegiance to Spain from his native country Brazil last year, Costa had appeared a certainty to make the reigning champions' squad.

However, the Atletico Madrid striker sustained a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw at Barcelona that secured the Spanish league title and then lasted just eight minutes of Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid. Tests have now confirmed that the muscle remains torn and he requires about a fortnight's recovery period.

Del Bosque, who has allowed all his Atletico and Madrid players to miss Friday's warm-up friendly against Bolivia in Seville, told El Larguero that nothing had yet been decided as he prepares to submit his final squad.

"[Costa] has a muscular injury and we are watching how it develops and will decide at the last moment," he said. "We have until June 2 to give the list of 23 so there is no need to rush. I hope he is there, but we also have other good options. We have agreed that Diego Costa will come to recover at the [Spanish FA's] Ciudad Deportiva and we will decide on Friday 30. I said I would like everyone to be in good condition on June 2. I am not saying there could not be an exception, but we would like everyone to be OK by then."

Earlier, the Spanish FA (RFEF) had issued a statement on Costa's situation and also confirmed there were doubts over the fitness of Atletico right-back Juanfran Torres and Manchester City winger Jesus Navas.

"The medical services of the Spanish football team have had the opportunity to see today various radiological tests carried out in the recent weeks to Diego Costa, Club Atletico de Madrid SAD player, by the medical services of the Madrid club," the statement read. "After assessing the medical tests, and once confirmed that there has been no relapse in the injury of the player, all parties involved (federation, club and player) have decided that the striker will receive treatment by the medical services of the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

"The RFEF is also in daily contact with Juanfran Torres and Jesus Navas, as well as with their medical services, putting at their disposal in the case that they wish to receive treatment from the medical services of the Spanish team."

Costa's problems appear to have reopened the door to the World Cup for Chelsea's Fernando Torres, who spoke with AS as he joined up with the squad.

"I had experience a year without joining up with the team, and I wanted to hear my name," Torres said after being named in the party to face Bolivia on Friday. "I knew anything could happen. Yesterday, I was just waiting for 1 p.m. to come and to be able to hear my name. I knew I could be in or out, but now I have more chance of going to Brazil."

The Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 winner said he was not taking his participation in this summer's tournament for granted and was used to fighting with top-level forwards for a place in Spain's squad.

"This list is for the game against Bolivia," Torres said. "I am going to take advantage of this week, enjoy myself, and hopefully we can be there in the final list. It is a big step to be here, but in football you can never be sure of anything. I always enjoy the competition with whoever. There has always been a lot of competition for places since Euro 2008 -- [Fernando] Morientes, Raul, [David] Villa, [Roberto] Soldado, [Alvaro] Negredo, now Costa. The level is very high, but they are not rivals -- they are teammates -- and whoever gets to play will have the support of everyone."

The call-up was especially welcome after what Torres described as a "strange" campaign at Chelsea after Jose Mourinho's return saw the club challenging for the Premier League and Champions League but ultimately end up empty-handed.

"I am delighted. I want to get started," said Torres, who scored five goals in 29 appearances in the Premier League this season. "It has been a strange year in everything, with the club in transition. We have been close to everything but in the end we achieved nothing, after two years in a row winning trophies. On a personal level, it has been the same. But to be here is a spectacular prize."

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