Spain’s chances of retaining their World Cup crown may not hinge on the goalscoring exploits of David Villa or Alvaro Negredo but instead naturalised Brazilian Diego Costa, who is out to show his country just what they are missing.
No European nation has ever won the competition on South American soil and though Spain are on at 6/1 to do just that, they remain behind Brazil in the betting with the hosts available at 10/3 to lift the trophy with Ladbrokes.
It could all come down to who starts up front for the reigning World and European champions, who have come under fire in recent years for their lack of a recognised goalscorer.
Fernando Torres is a 4/1 shot to finish the competition as Spain’s top scorer and despite earning that accolade at Euro 2012 with a paltry sum of three goals, his inconsistent form for club side Chelsea means he is by no means guaranteed a starting berth.
Meanwhile, La Roja’s goalscoring hero in South Africa, Villa, is a 6/1 shot but has failed to hit the same kind of heights he enjoyed at Barcelona with current club Atletico Madrid, where he has notched up 10 league goals so far this term.
Instead the impetus may be with his teammate and adopted compatriot Diego Costa – a player that manager Vicente Del Bosque fought tooth and nail to recruit to the national side following a stellar start to the season in La Liga.
A tally of 19 goals from 17 league starts was enough to convince the former Real Madrid coach that the 25-year-old is the man to lead Spain’s attack, though they faced competition for his services from Brazil, with Costa born in Lagarto.
But after being granted Spanish citizenship last summer, the forward had no qualms about following in the footsteps of players like Donato and Marcos Senna.
And anyone hoping he can now take his domestic form through to the summer footballing gala can back Costa at 4/1 to be Spain’s top scorer.
With Costa out to silence the critics, home support and a Brazil manager that ignored him until it was too late, don’t write off Spain’s chances of success just yet.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.