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Spain hang by Diego Costa’s hamstring

At the Spain squad training ground, Fernando Torres said muscle injuries like Costa’s can take weeks to heal.

The injury rules Costa out of Spain’s pre-World Cup friendly matches against Bolivia and El Salvador. (Source: Reuters) The injury rules Costa out of Spain’s pre-World Cup friendly matches against Bolivia and El Salvador. (Source: Reuters)

A doctor treating Diego Costa for a hamstring injury said the striker has a muscle tear that needs to be reassessed in 15 days, raising doubts about his chances of making Spain’s World Cup squad. Pedro Guillen of the Cemtro clinic told the Cadena Cope radio station on Tuesday that the 25-year-old Brazil-born player had a “grade one tear to the femoral biceps of his right leg” and would need 15 days convalescence before his injury could be re-evaluated.

“Costa is still carrying the injury, a micro-tear,” said Guillen, who examined the forward.

Spain’s opener in Brazil is on June 13 against the Netherlands. The injury rules Costa out of Spain’s pre-World Cup friendly matches against Bolivia and El Salvador. Coach Vicente del Bosque said on Sunday the players in his 23-man squad would need to be fit by June 2 — the FIFA deadline for squad lists.

At the Spain squad training ground Tuesday, striker Fernando Torres said muscle injuries like Costa’s were tricky because they can take weeks to heal.

“Costa has to see if he is fit,” said Torres, adding that the medical team would also have to assess the rate of his recovery to see “if he can make it in optimum condition.” Torres said the fact that Del Bosque was prepared to wait for Costa showed his importance within the squad.

The 30-year-old Chelsea and Spain striker said Group B was “a tough one for both Holland and Spain,” and that the match against the Dutch would be good because “they will be out for revenge” — a reference to Spain’s victory over the Netherlands in the last World Cup final.

Costa committed himself to play for Spain — instead of Brazil — last year and played his first match with the world and European champions in March.

He has scored 36 goals in all competitions and helped Atletico Madrid secure its first La Liga championship in 18 years and reach the Champions League final, which his team lost 4-1 to Real Madrid.

Russia win, Australia draw

Russia started their World Cup countdown with a 1-0 win over Slovakia while Australia were held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa as the finalists began their preparations in earnest on Monday with the start of the tournament just 17 days away. Belgium, tipped by many to make a big impression in Brazil, were also in action, crushing Luxembourg 5-1.

Fabio Capello picked a strong team for their win over Slovakia in St Petersburg with Zenit St Petersburg forward Alexander Kerzhakov heading the only goal eight minutes from time.

Alexander Kokorin thought he had put Russia in front after latching on to a glorious through ball by Sergei Ignashevich before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Jan Mucha but English referee Mark Clattenburg ruled it out for offside.
Australia showed few signs that they might buck their underdog status at the World Cup as they struggled to a tepid 1-1 draw against an under-strength South Africa in Sydney.

Raid finds stale food at team hotels

A brazilian consumer defence agency said it’s found past-expiration food in the hotels where national soccer teams from Italy and England will stay during the World Cup. The Rio de Janeiro state agency said the inspections were part of an effort to enforce food safety codes ahead of the tournament. At the Hotel Portobello where Italy will stay, inspectors discovered 25 kilograms of pasta, shrimp, salmon and margarine kept past its expiration date. Inspectors there tossed another 24kg of food because there was no visible safe date on its label. Team England will stay at the Royal Tulip Hotel where a search turned up 2kg of butter, Parma ham and salmon too old for consumption.Both hotels didn’t provide condoms for sale at cost, nor information about sexually transmitted diseases, as required by law. The hotels have 15 days to make official explanations before would any fines be levied. There was some good news too. Inspectors found no problems at the Hotel Caesar Park, where Holland’s squad will be based.

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