sport

Costa hopes to play friendly

Diego Costa is targeting a return to action in Spain's final pre-World Cup friendly against El Salvador next weekend as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury.

It was touch and go whether Costa would be part of Spain's World Cup plans due to the injury which forced him out of Atletico Madrid's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid after just nine minutes.

However, the Brazil-born striker was included in Vicente del Bosque's 23-man squad for this summer's tournament on Saturday and, after confirming his recovery is going well, Costa is now hoping to feature at some point against El Salvador in America next Saturday.

He told Marca: "I'm very well. I've been working over the last few days with the physios and rehabilitation staff and I feel very well. From tomorrow I will start working with the rest of the team under the orders of Vicente del Bosque.

"I hope to be able to have some minutes in next week's game against El Savador in Washington."

Costa played two friendlies for Brazil last year but ended up committing his international allegiance to Spain, with whom he made his debut against Italy earlier this year.

After being confirmed in Del Bosque's squad for the World Cup, the 25-year-old said: "I'm very pleased. It's a very happy day for me. I was really hoping to go to the World Cup in Brazil."

Holders Spain begin their World Cup defence against Holland on June 13 in what is a repeat of the 2010 final, which La Furia Roja won 1-0 after extra-time.