Diego Costa's switch of allegiance from Brazil to Spain ahead of the 2014 World Cup has certainly not worked out as well as he or Vicente Del Bosque might've imagined it would. A disappointing World Cup was followed by an at-times lackluster Euro qualification campaign, and with Costa in and out of the lineup due to injuries, suspensions, and poor form both in terms of goals and behaviours, the Chelsea striker has only managed the solitary goal in 9 appearances for his adopted country.
Del Bosque recalled the striker after leaving him out of the team last month due to the fracas with Arsenal (in what was a rare Chelsea victory, as it turns out), and the Spain head coach remains steadfast in his belief that signing up Costa to the Spanish cause was the right move.
"Costa isn't a problem for us. [...] Our midfield is good on the ball, with players whose touch is good, so we need forwards who create space, who move, who commit defenders, occupy them, and Diego does that. How can Costa be harmful for us? We have him so he can get in behind, run channels, pull wide. We've not had much luck with him but there's nothing that goes against our style. Now we're choosing between him, Morata and Paco Alcácer; in principle those are the three for the future."
While there are still eight months to go until Euro 2016, Costa and the rest of the Chelsea group of Spaniards should be, some of the first names in Del Bosque's starting lineups. Barring continuing disastrous performances at Chelsea of course.
The quotes above come from a fairly lengthy and interesting interview — not a word you often associate with Del Bosque, "interesting" — in which the legendary Real Madrid player and later coach, who has won pretty much everything one could possibly win in the game of football, delves into some of the new trends seen in tactics, footballing identities ("tiki-taka", "English-style football"), and the ever-present "problem" of teams becoming a collection of all-star players from around the world rather than a group of local or somewhat-local lads fighting for an innate goal of local pride (or whatever ideals we associate with those wonderful days of yore).
It's well worth the read, especially the part that talks about something I've always believed in: success at international level, especially consistent success, depends largely on getting a core group of (quality) players together who play together at the same club.
"Nearly all the countries who've won international tournaments have done so basing themselves on one particular club side, be that Bayern Munich or Juventus or [...] I don't want to leave Madrid out because we had four or five from Madrid and although we had seven or eight from Barcelona we didn't play like them, but with two deep midfielders together: Busquets and Alonso were questioned but were fundamental. We also had five players from Liverpool at one point, for example: Reina, Arbeloa, Xabi, Torres, Luis García. A block is useful but now it's more dispersed. That said, we've got four from Chelsea: Costa, Cesc, Azpilicueta, Pedro. You can take things from that. We have very few days, so it makes sense. It's not that you copy what players do at club level, it's that you would be stupid not to."
Hopefully for the sake of both Spain and Chelsea, those four start producing at the level we know they can once again.