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Vicente Del Bosque, Spain's manager, made his final experiments, 99 days before the start of the World Cup during a match that finished 1-0 for the defending World Champions against Cesare Prandelli's Italy. Here are three conclusions after the end of the match at Estadio Vicente Calderon:

1. On Marca, Miguel Angel Lara, author of the book “Los Secretos de La Roja,” wrote an article detailing what it meant for the Spanish national team to have a striker such as Diego Costa. One of his beaming points on his piece was that during the two days Costa spent with his new national team teammates, the main conclusion amongst the team was that Costa, “es una bestia,” Costa is a beast.


Against Italy, Diego Costa could not get his long-awaited goal. He was timid at certain points of the match, and why wouldn't he be? For Diego Costa it was the first time playing alongside players of Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Pedro’s caliber; players that enjoy making the passing game into an elaborate painting. It was Andres who gave Costa’s first through pass with La Roja.


Spain’s no. 19 brought to La Roja an option it has missed in recent times; that striker that is ready inside the box to receive that cross in order to score. There was a clear-cut target after the tiqui-taca scenario. Not only that, but when the game appeared to be on Italy’s side, the long-ball pass could be used to surprise the Italian center-backs. Costa sprints with an intrepid speed the minute he spots a long-ball coming his way, and when it is time to play on who will win it, he transforms into a Hummer and runs over the defender.


Ramon Besa, El Pais football writer, said after the conclusion of the match that Diego Costa did not fail to the occasion because “no se desenchufó”, in order words, he did not switched off from the match, even if he was playing against one of the strongest defenses in the world, the Italian. Post-game, Costa was happy for the win, and for receiving Vicente Del Bosque’s trust in his first game representing Spain.


2. For 90 minutes, Thiago Alcantara played on Xavi’s position. In the first half, he played with Sergio Busquets, and in the second with Xabi Alonso. One of the aspects of his game that have led him to have a booming start to his young career has been his daring ability to take the ball out of difficult situations with a little bit of flare.


Against Italy, he showed a lot of maturity with his passing decisions; there is a level of prudence in his game that should elevate his playing style, especially in the months ahead with Champions League, and a hypothetical World Cup participation.


Thiago left FC Barcelona because he wanted to enjoy the sport, and because he felt ready to play the big games. The transition period for Spain is beginning, and Thiago will become one of its leaders like Xavi was during this period of excellence that has seen Spain win two EUROs and one World Cup. 


3. There are those players that are magnificent with their club and not so much with their national team, but then there are those that are magnificent with their national team and lack the sensationalism with their club. With Pedro, differentiating where he lands on the flow chart is complicated because he seems to have appeared in vital moments for both club and national team. He is special.


His goal gave the win to Spain. Pedro appeared on the left flank, on the right flank, defending, sliding, pushing, on center-forward position, everywhere. He is not the player that robs all the front pages of newspapers but is a vital player for Del Bosque's team, which hopes to make a deep run in Brazil 2014.



Nicolás Muñoz was the man of the match after scoring all four goals in Isidro Metapan's resounding, yet surprising victory, over the Los Angeles Galaxy. 

The MLS club came into their fourth group stage match with three previous victories and with a clean sheet in each of those games. Accumulating nine points in their CONCACAF Champions League run up to this match, the Galaxy was already qualified to the CCL quarter-finals as they made the trip to El Salvador, encouraging Bruce Arena to field a "B" team in their final group encounter.

On the other hand, El Salvador's Isidro Metapan no longer had a chance to qualify to the next round but that didn't stop them from getting inspired to beat the giants of Major League Soccer. Since no energy could be harnessed from the nearly empty stadium, Muñoz was the man responsible of inserting that vital surge of inspiration into his club, scoring an amazing free-kick on the 29th minute to start the Salvadoran party.

Less than five minutes later Nicolas Muñoz completed an impressive hat-trick with two more amazing goals on Jaime Penedo's replacement keeper, Brian Rowe. Like the first goal where Rowe's mistake allowed the ball to ease on by into the net, the second and third goal were also due to Rowe's negligence, as he was much too static when he was called to action.

Muñoz completed his pokar in the first half with another beautiful goal, lobbing the ball over Rowe without even looking at the net. The more than impressive performance from the Panamanian shot the Galaxy down from first place to sixth of the qualified teams and against all odds, Los Angeles will face the Xolos of Tijuana in the quarter-finals of the CCL on March of 2014.