Fernando Hierro believes the potential absence of Diego Costa from Spain’s World Cup squad could prove disastrous.
Costa faces a race against time to be fit for the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury towards the end of the season and the forward had to be withdrawn from the Champions League final after only 10 minutes.
He has been told to rest for just over two weeks, leaving the Atletico Madrid forward cutting it close for Spain’s first game of the tournament against the Netherlands.
Costa is one of a number of forwards struggling to be available for the start of the competition and Hierro has told AS that losing a goalscorer can make the difference between success and failure.
“The loss of a player like Luis Suarez, Diego Costa or Radamel Falcao would be decisive,” he said.
“They’re very important for their national teams and I wish they were all there.
“It would be good for the competition. Strikers are artists whose goals decide matches.”
Hierro, at one time Spain’s record goal scorer, added that La Roja need only to look at events four years ago to see that sometimes it’s worth gambling on a player’s fitness.
“There were four players that last time, it wasn’t known if they would go,” he argued, referring to Jesus Navas, Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.
“And they were the stars who put the finishing touches before that goal.”
Hierro concluded by backing Spain to thrive in South America.
“[Playing Brazil] would be exciting. The players are looking forward to it,” he continued.
“I’m optimistic. I think a lot of this generation.”