I’m Brazilian, and I love my country.
When we won the Confederations Cup this past summer, it was awesome. The feeling of beating the almighty Spain was new, something I’ll never forget.
However, it still felt strange to root against the team I usually side with. Why, you ask? Well, I used to live in Spain; I fell in love with Atleti while I was there. I also fell in love with Spanish culture. I don’t feel just Brazilian anymore. I feel Brazilian, Spanish, and a bit American.
So, whenever the topic of Diego Costa and what country he should play for comes up, I panic. I have two highly differing opinions on the matter — one part of me screams Brazil, and the other Spain.
My heart says, “Diego, play for us, your home, your country, Brazil.” My head says, “Diego would kick ass for Spain, he’s just what they need. He would change the predictability of the Spanish squad.”
A Spanish squad that has now been dubbed as “boring”, their style of play seen as counterproductive.
I see Diego as the solution to Spain’s woes. He is a different kind of player, so much so that I really don’t even know who to compare him to. The closest thing that I can think of is Luis Suárez, but still, very different.
Costa’s inclusion in a starting eleven would benefit Spain, because with his capability to play out wide and in the centre, he can fit in Del Bosque’s formations. Nowadays, however, the national team coach seems to prefer a false 9, making the squad look a bit like a 4-5-0.
With this 4-5-0, and Spain’s obsession to keep possession and play tiki taka, many teams have now figured out how to neutralize them. Just by watching the most recent matches, against Italy, Brazil, Chile, etc., you can see how the threat of the Spanish squad has diminished.
When Bayern trounced FC Barcelona 7-0, clubs began to employ the tactics used in those matches, tweaking them for when their teams played against Spain or Barcelona.
The Brazil vs. Spain tie was a perfect example of this. The Brazilian squad applied high pressure, positioning one player to each Spanish midfielder. By not allowing the midfielders an inch of space, and committing quick, tactical fouls, the Europeans were neutralized. Not that difficult to defeat the world champions, if you know how.
Throwing Costa into the mix would offer that element of unpredictability. By being a ‘trouble maker’, a ‘rule breaker’, Diego would be a blessing. His presence on the pitch offers something more than those by the likes of Soldado, Negredo, or Torres. Compared to those three, his physicality is unmatched, his agility incredible, and his dribbling top notch.
Del Bosque should call him up for a friendly, and see what he brings to the table. I think it will be success, but we won’t know until he has been tested.
For now, all I can ask of Felipão or Del Bosque is: please call Diego Costa up!