After a week of controversy — what else is new? — surrounding Diego Costa and, this time, his adopted country of Spain, the Chelsea striker silenced a few naysayers as he grabbed a brace against lowly Liechtenstein on Monday night. Granted, Spain scored eight goals in total against the hapless micro-nation, so perhaps Costa would've had to try harder to stay off the scoresheet than to grab a couple easy scores. But goals are goals, especially when you only had one in your previous dozen games for the national team.
Here's Diego Costa doubling his goalscoring total for the Spanish national team:
And here's Diego Costa tripling his goalscoring total for the Spanish national team! Honorary assist to that defender who so helpfully runs away from the play.
Both goals were headers, which seem to be almost as rare for Diego as long-shots from outside the box. Costa was replaced after 70 minutes by Álvaro Morata — he grabbed a brace as well, as did David Silva (to give him four goals in his last two games from Spain), while both Vitolo and Sergi Roberto notched their first ever goals for the national side as well. Beating Liechtenstein certainly isn't much of an accomplishment for Spain, though beating them 8-0 is a decent effort.
César Azpilicueta did not get to partake in the goalfest; he watched the whole thing from the bench.
Nemanja Matić didn't even make it that far on account of his international suspension for a red card, so the only Chelsea representative for Serbia this time around was captain Branislav Ivanovic, who, unfortunately, managed to miss a sitter that would've likely given the hosts all three points against Ireland. Instead, the two teams settled for a disappointing 2-2 draw in slippy conditions on a rather bad pitch.
The visitors grabbed an early lead inside just three minutes, Jeff Hendrick's shot deflecting in off the consistently unfortunate Ivanovic, but Serbia battled back in the second half and took the lead on a dubious penalty. A defensive breakdown on a corner gifted Ireland their equalizer.
And so, both teams begin their World Cup 2018 qualification campaign with a draw, handing the early advantage to Wales and Austria who both began with wins.