Costa to start against Italy


Chelsea striker Diego Costa will start for Spain in Thursday's World Cup qualifying clash with Italy in Turin.

Costa was left out of Spain's Euro 2016 squad by former coach Vicente del Bosque but returned to the starting XI as Julen Lopetegui's first World Cup qualifying campaign at the helm kicked off with an 8-0 demolition of Liechtenstein.

The Brazil-born striker scored two goals in that match and has done enough to keep hold of his place for this week's clash between two giants of European football.

"Tomorrow Diego Costa will play," Lopetegui told a news conference. "We decided we must go to our limit in a game like this.

"We have not paid much attention to what happened in the Italy-France match [in September] to make decisions. That was a friendly.

"Italy have spent many years with the same philosophy and some great players. It will be a difficult match."

Costa's inclusion means Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata is likely to once again have to settle for a place on the bench, having replaced Costa for the final 20 minutes against Liechtenstein.

"Morata is a great player who is familiar with the high demands of playing at Madrid," added Lopetegui. "Alvaro gives us options."

Italy were responsible for Spain's elimination from Euro 2016 at the last-16 stage, winning 2-0 at the Stade de France.