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This combination of 24 images made on May 31, shows the Spanish football team final selection for the upcoming World Cup championship to be held in Brazil. (AFP)
Del Bosque gambles on Costa in Spain 23-man WCup squad Dutch settle on final squad

MADRID, May 31, (Agencies): World Cup holders Spain included Diego Costa in its 23-man squad for Brazil despite lingering worries over a leg injury to the striker. Costa has been hobbled for weeks by a right thigh muscle problem, but coach Vicente del Bosque is prepared to gamble that the Atletico Madrid forward will be fit to lead the defending champion’s attack. Costa, who is a Brazilian-born Spanish national, is expected to start ahead of Fernando Torres and David Villa, who were also in the squad. As expected, winger Jesus Navas was left out while Juan Mata was included despite a mixed Premier League season. Spain open against the Netherlands on June 13 in a repeat of the 2010 final. The world champions also play Chile and Australia in Group B. Sixteen of the 23 squad players who lifted the World Cup four years ago return for Spain.

Del Bosque seemed to choose players like Mata and Torres on favor rather than obvious merit heading into Brazil, with Real Madrid playmaker Isco among those discarded. Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara was unavailable due to injury. While Costa’s inclusion was hardly shocking, Del Bosque’s decision to base Spain’s attack around a forward who has been nagged by a hamstring problem over the final two months of the season is surprising considering his options. Del Bosque stuck by Costa despite the availability of Juventus striker Fernando Llorente and Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo. Negredo found himself starting from the bench over the close of the club season but Llorente enjoyed a strong debut season at Juventus with 16 goals.

While Llorente was in the Spain team that won the World Cup four years ago and the European Championship in 2012, the Basque striker played just 31 minutes over those two tournaments. Del Bosque said Friday after Spain’s 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia that he has faith in Torres, who scored just five Premier League goals this season. David Villa, the country’s all-time leading scorer, has seen his production dip but can easily slide into Spain’s possession-based combination game, with midfielder Cesc Fabregas expected to reprise his role as an unorthodox striker when needed. Pedro Rodriguez was also named.

Spain:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

Coach Louis van Gaal cut six players from his preliminary squad on Saturday as the Netherlands named their final 23-man roster for the World Cup in Brazil, just hours before a warm-up international against Ghana in Rotterdam.
There was only one surprise as 20-year-old centre back Terence Kongolo kept his place in the squad despite being taken off at half-time on his international against Ecuador last week, while Patrick van Aanholt fell out of contention when he was expected to be chosen as a back-up left back.
Van Gaal also dropped PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet and four players from the Dutch under-21 side who had not been at last week’s training camp in Portugal but were preparing for a European Championship qualifier against Scotland.
A hat-trick for Quincy Promes in that game on Wednesday led Dutch media to speculate he might be picked but he was left out, along with team mates Jean-Paul Boetius, Karim Rekik and Tonny Vilhenna.
Experienced midfielder Rafael van der Vaart was ruled out of contention on Wednesday after suffering a calf injury in Portugal. The Netherlands kick off their campaign against Group B rivals Spain in Salvador on June 13 with matches against Australia and Chile to follow.

Squad:
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax Amsterdam), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax Amsterdam), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi (all Feyenoord Rotterdam), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Joel Veltman (Ajax Amsterdam)
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich City), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)
Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
 

Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell are expected to spearhead the attack at the World Cup finals in the absence of Alvaro Saborio and Bryan Oviedo as the country’s final 23-man squad was named on Friday.
Saborio, who plays for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, broke a bone in his foot on Thursday while versatile left winger Oviedo has not recovered from breaking his leg playing for Everton in January.
Coach Jorge Luis Pinto trimmed his provisional squad for the Brazil finals starting on June 12 three days ahead of the deadline, dropping defender Kendall Watson and midfielder Carlos Hernandez.
Pinto, having lost two key players through injury, will be pinning his attacking hopes on the speedy Campbell, who had a fine season in Greece for Olympiakos Piraeus on loan from Arsenal, and skilful PSV Eindhoven forward Ruiz.
Costa Rica, the outsiders in a tough Group D in which they will meet former champions Uruguay, Italy and England, will be looking to reach the second round for the second time after the 1990 finals in Italy.
 

Squad:
Goalkeepers: Keilor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Daniel Cambronero (Herediano)
Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Club Bruges), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz 05), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls)
Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK Stockholm), Christian Bolanos (FC Copenhagen), Oscar Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga Oslo), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano)
Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar)

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