Wednesday Kickoff: Costa chooses to play with Spain; Klopp signs Dortmund extension; and more

DiegoCostaAtleticoMadrid2-AustriaVienna (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Diego Costa has made his decision and it’s one that has Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari unhappy.

The Atletico Madrid striker has decided to cast his lot with Spain moving forward, parting ways with his native Brazil despite representing them last March in two friendly matches. Costa is still eligible for Spain due to those Brazil matches being just friendly competitions and not official FIFA matches like a World Cup qualifying game.

Costa sent a letter to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) reiterating his desire to play for La Roja and it’s now up to head coach Vicente Del Bosque to see if he’ll be selected for Spain’s friendlies in November at Angola and South Africa.

The 25-year-old Sao Paulo native’s decision has reportedly angered Scolari, with the Brazil boss claiming that Costa is “turning his back on the dreams of millions” of Brazilians.

Here are some more stories to start your Wednesday:

KLOPP EXTENDS CONTRACT THROUGH 2018

Borussia Dortmund have rewarded head coach Jürgen Klopp for his results in the last 18 months, including leading the team to the UEFA Champions League final last May.

The German club announced on Wednesday that Klopp has signed a contract extension through 2018, keeping him at Signal Iduna Park for the foreseeable future. Klopp has been head coach of the side since 2008 and in January 2012, he had extended his contract through 2016.

“Jürgen stands for the further development of this team,” Dortmund Sporting Director Michel Zorc said in a statement. “He is the perfect coach for BVB.”

Klopp has his Dortmund side off to another hot start in the Bundesliga, with eight wins, one draw, and one loss so far this season. The club sit one point behind Bayern Munich in the standings.

During his time as head coach of the club, Klopp has recorded the most points of any head coach in team history (363 points in 180 Bundesliga games, 2.02 points per game).

CHICHARITO SCORES TWICE IN MAN UNITED ROUT

After failing to score in his last seven matches for club and country while suffering a pretty miserable 2013 calendar year by his standards, Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez has managed to find the back of the net two games in a row.

On Tuesday evening, “Chicharito” Hernandez scored Man United’s first two goals on the way to a 4-0 rout of Norwich City in the League Cup, advancing to the fifth round of play.

The sudden goal-scoring form that Chicharito is on could be valuable to the Mexican National Team if they fail to impress on Wednesday in a friendly match against Finland, with head coach Miguel Herrera potentially then considering to call in European-based stars for their final two World Cup qualifying matches.

BARCELONA CONTINUE PUSH UP LA LIGA TABLE

Much like their fast start to last season, Barcelona have continued their solid run to begin the year with a 3-0 victory at Celta de Vigo on Tuesday evening, opening up a nine-point lead above Real Madrid.

Even with Xavi, Iniesta, and Neymar on the bench, Barcelona came out strong as recent El Clasico hero Alexis Sanchez put the Catalonian club up 1-0 in the 9th minute with a close range finish off a rebound. An own goal by Celta goalkeeper Yoel off a shot by Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas followed three minutes after halftime and Fabregas made sure that there was no chance of a comeback with a goal six minutes later on a nice left-footed finish.

Barcelona’s only worry was that defender Adriano limped off in the first half with a thigh injury and is set to undergo tests on Wednesday.

EL TRI LOSE SAMBUEZA APPEAL TO FIFA

Mexico won’t be able to call up Club America midfielder Rubens Sambueza after an appeal to FIFA was rejected.

The 29-year-old midfielder, who only received his Mexican passport last week, played for his home nation of Argentina at the 2001 Under-17 World Cup. FIFA passed a ruling in 2004 that allowed players to make a one-time switch to a different nation given that they hadn’t played in an official competition, but because of Sambueza playing at the U-17 World Cup, he’s forever cap-tied to Argentina because FIFA won’t apply the ruling retroactively.

The news is a blow to El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera, who is coaching the national team on loan from America where he coaches Sambueza day in and day out.

QUICK KICKS

Legendary Argentine midfielder Diego Maradona turns 53 on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Norwich City midfielder Robert Snodgrass was released from the hospital on Wednesday after being knocked unconscious in Norwich’s match against Manchester United due to a clash of heads with Man United right back Fabio. (REPORT)

Against the odds, Ligue 2 side Auxerre knocked the third-place side in Ligue 1, Lille, out of the Coupe de la Ligue. (REPORT)

Austria head coach Marcel Koller has decided to remain in charge of the Austrian National Team, signing an extension through 2015 with an option for 2016. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with Costa’s decision? Happy to see Klopp remain at Dortmund? Do you believe Chicharito will continue to score goals?

Share your thoughts below.

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7 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Costa chooses to play with Spain; Klopp signs Dortmund extension; and more

  1. Jay in Florida says:

    Luiz Felipe Scolari only has himself to blame, Diego Costa deserved a call up long before march, not making the Confederation’s Cup for Costa was disappointing. I’m sure Costa is just as good if not better than Jo and Fred.

    • Neruda says:

      This can happen if you’re flush with quality players like Brazil. There may not be enough room on the Seleciao for everyone so players get citizenship in other nations and play for their adopted countries.

      • Eurosnob says:

        If Costa decided to play for Croatia or Belgium, there would not have been much fuss in Brazil. However, after being snubbed by Scolari and his predecessors, he switched to Spain, a team with legitimate chances to win the WC and a need at the striker position.

  2. Dinho says:

    If I’m Costa, I’d have made the same decision. Much better chance of making the XI with Spain than competing with Luiz and Silva for the CB spots with Brazil.

  3. Hogatroge says:

    “turning his back on the dreams of millions”

    Right… and there are practically “millions” more Brazilian players available for selection that many other nations would be GLAD to have.