Diego Costa Named in Spain Squad v Italy, Juan Mata Left out before World Cup

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2014

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11:  Juan Mata of Spain looks on during the warm up prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Diego Costa has been named in Spain's squad to face Italy, but Juan Mata and Fernando Torres' participation at the 2014 World Cup is in serious doubt after the Premier League duo were omitted, as tweeted by Eurosport:

Costa has the opportunity to make his Spanish debut after choosing to represent Vicente del Bosque's side before the World Cup in Brazil—his country of birth—as reported by Football Espana.

The powerful forward has scored 26 goals in 28 appearances for Atletico Madrid this season, a factor that weighed heavily in the national coach's thinking, as noted in the aforementioned report:

"Costa is there on merit for his form with Atletico Madrid. It doesn’t commit either party," said del Bosque.

Andre Penner/Associated Press

Despite previously representing Brazil in March 2013, Costa revealed he wishes to represent Spain competitively in October of last year, per BBC Sport:

"I hope people understand and respect my decision because it has been very difficult," said Costa. "It was very difficult to choose between the country where you were born and the country that has given you everything."

He won't be joined by Mata and Torres in the latest Spanish squad, who lead a list of impressive names—including Carles Puyol, Alvaro Arbeloa, David Villa, Jese and Fernando Llorente—forced to stay at home by the veteran coach.

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 23:  Juan Mata and Fernando Torres of Spain look on prior to the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B match between Nigeria and Spain at Castelao on June 23, 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

The Premier League-based duo are international regulars, possessing five major tournament titles between them with La Roja, and they appear to have been left out after less-than-impressive seasons for their clubs.

Mata was dropped from the Chelsea first team upon Jose Mourinho's arrival and never managed to receive a consistent starting berth in the Portuguese manager's lineup. He subsequently moved to Manchester United for £37.1 million in January, where he has provided three assists in five games, per WhoScored.com.

Torres has also struggled at Stamford Bridge this campaign, scoring just four Premier League goals in 19 performances. He netted during the Blues' recent Champions League round-of-16 draw with Galatasaray, but is still trying to gather full fitness after a lengthy injury layoff.

Meanwhile, Tom Adams of Eurosport sums up the overbearing talent of a side that many will tip to successfully defend their crown at the World Cup:

Del Bosque's full selection includes Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo, as reported by Sky Sports, after an excellent start to life in England. Both he and Costa should be outlined as real threats to Torres' place in Brazil, who may struggle to fit in after another campaign of limited quality.

One thing's for sure, Spain's ridiculous strength-in-depth would stretch far enough to produce an extremely competitive second team at the upcoming tournament.