Costa leads Spain attack against Dutch at WCup
SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) Brazilian-born Diego Costa will lead World Cup holder Spain's attack against the Netherlands on Friday in a Group B rematch of the 2010 final.
Costa has recovered from a right thigh muscle injury to start in front of Spain's midfield trio of Xavi Hernandez, David Silva and Andres Iniesta, who scored the winner in the 1-0 final victory over the Dutch in South Africa four years ago.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is deploying Costa to change the complexion of Spain's possession-based system in response to the Netherlands' promise to use five defenders to counter its opponent's slick passing game.
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben will lead the Netherlands' counter attack at the Arena Fonte Nova, where Dutch coach Louis van Gaal selected Canada-born Jonathan de Guzman as a midfield outlet alongside Wesley Sneijder.
Friday's contest is the first ever meeting between previous World Cup finalists at the subsequent tournament. Spain's lineup includes seven players who started the 2010 win over the Dutch four years ago, while Robben, Van Persie, Sneijder and Nigel de Jong lined up against Spain at Soccer City.
Del Bosque made few changes apart from the attack, with captain Iker Casillas in goal for the 155th time behind Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, while Cesar Azpilicueta started at right back with Jordi Alba on the left.
Spain's defense, which is protected by midfielders Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, conceded just two goals in South Africa.
Spain is vying to become the first team to win four straight major tournaments after defending its European Championship title in 2012, and the first repeat world champion since 1962.
For the Netherlands, right back Daryl Janmaat and left back Daley Blind will hope to surge forward in aid of the attack, while Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen starts behind defenders Bruno Martins Indi, Ron Vlaar, and Stefan de Vrij.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, David Silva, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Diego Costa.
Netherlands: Jasper Cillessen, Daryl Janmaat, Daley Blind, Bruno Martins Indi, Ron Vlaar, Stefan de Vrij, Nigel de Jong, Jonathan de Guzman, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie.