Madrid: Despite his troubles at Chelsea, forward Juan Mata was recalled by Spain on Friday for its upcoming World Cup qualifiers when the champions will look to seal their place in the 2014 tournament.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque dropped Mata from the previous qualifier after the playmaker fell out of favor with returning Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Mata, however, impressed in the English team's 4-0 rout at Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Tuesday, hitting the woodwork with a shot and coming close to setting up two goals.
Spain hosts Belarus next Friday on the island of Mallorca and Georgia four days later in Albacete. Spain leads Europe Group I, level with France on points but with an extra game in hand.
While Mata will likely still be a substitute for Spain, Del Bosque has seen his choice at striker limited to David Villa, Alvaro Negredo, or converted midfielder Cesc Fabregas after Fernando Torres injured his knee and the Spanish federation failed to give Diego Costa his international debut due to a paperwork delay.
Diego Costa was born in Brazil and became a Spanish citizen this year after moving to the country in 2007.
“He has positive feelings for a country he has integrated well with and he wants to play here,” Del Bosque said about Diego Costa after announcing his 23-man squad.
Diego Costa has scored eight goals in seven games to keep Atletico Madrid atop the Spanish league with Barcelona. And with teammate Villa not finding the net nearly as often and Torres notorious for his dips in form, Del Bosque appears set on giving his attack a massive makeover before the competition's final phase in Brazil next summer.