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COMMENT: Del Bosque not playing Diego Costa to his strengths

Diego Costa's dream World Cup debut turned out to be a Spanish nightmare after humiliation by the Netherlands.

The Netherlands put five past Spain after Xabi Alonso scored a penalty won by the Atletico Madrid striker.

Costa didn't look settled in the Spanish team, but as much was expected. The Brazilian born striker plays as an aggressive wasp and in contrast was surrounded by floating butterflies. In the Spanish national team there are only two other players that share his mentality, his Atletico Madrid teammates Koke and Juanfran, and neither played against Holland.

Costa chose to represent Spain earlier in the year and as a result received a backlash of boos from the Brazilian crowd during Spain's World Cup opener. The forward started off the match with enthusiasm, making runs in behind the Netherlands defence that were unnoticed by his midfielders. Early on, Costa tried hard to score, taking an ambitious shot from a tough angle - just to fly wide. He also tried to twist and turn defenders in the box in the first half but couldn't get the best of the Dutch rearguard.

The only glimpse of the Costa that harassed defences all season at Atletico Madrid was when he won a penalty by instinctively leaving his left leg out to be challenged by Stefan de Vrij.

Although Costa looked like the piece of the jigsaw puzzle forced into it's position, if manipulated the right way he can become the weapon Spain need him to be.

In this match, Spain lacked the aggression and bully approach an inform Costa exerts. Costa isn't like his fellow strikers in the team - Fernando Torres and David Villa - who both linger around the defence, instead he harasses them and takes them on. Spain need to adapt to his game, allow him to be the target man he was last season for Diego Simeone.

They need to feed him service, give him the ball and allow him to charge at defenders. Against Chile, they cannot play around him like they did yesterday, they need him to be the focal point and provide him the chances to score.

- by Julian Boland

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