- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

MADRID (AP) - Spain has a surplus of talented players at nearly every position, so picking the right team will likely be Spain coach Vicente del Bosque’s biggest dilemma.

The defending champions have been afforded little time to experiment with tough matches against the Netherlands and Chile before facing Australia in Group B.

The team’s core is aging but still capable, while an incoming crop of young talent will offer Del Bosque further options.

Here are five Spain players to watch:



Diego Costa brings a new dynamic to the world champions, if coach Vicente del Bosque uses the Atletico Madrid striker correctly.

The Brazilian-born Costa has chosen to play for his adopted homeland of Spain, which has not possessed a player with his qualities since it began its trophy-winning ways at the 2008 European Championship.

Costa’s gritty, physical play lends better to open space and long balls compared to Spain’s short passing, possession style, with the quick-tempered striker terrorizing defenses when given space to run at them.

But the tight confines of Spain’s play could limit Costa’s impact unless Del Bosque embraces his qualities and character, which will be under duress from the home fans for choosing to play for Spain.



Iker Casillas has been relegated to backup goalkeeper at Real Madrid, but the Spain captain has been stellar in that role by leading his club to the Copa del Rey final and deep into the knockout stages of the Champions League.

No player has made as many appearances for Spain as Casillas, who will be at his eighth major championship, including four World Cups.


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