Chelsea’s Diego Costa ruled out of Spain’s matches against Macedonia and England

Chelsea striker Diego Costa will miss Spain’s upcoming matches against Macedonia and England due to a thigh injury.

Nacho Monreal ,left, Diego Costa, centre, and Alvaro Morata take part in a training session at Las Rozas sport city on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, November 10, 2016. Juan Carlos Hidalgo / EPA
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Chelsea striker Diego Costa will miss Spain's upcoming matches against Macedonia and England due to a thigh injury.

Costa, 28, was unable to take a full part in Spain training earlier this week and, after losing his battle for fitness, the Spanish Football Federation announced on Thursday that he had been replaced in the squad.

Taking Costa’s place in Julen Lopetegui’s 25-man group is former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas, who has scored seven goals in all competitions for Celta Vigo this season.

“Diego Costa is definitely out of the national team for the matches against Macedonia and England,” a statement from the federation read.

“The Spanish-Brazilian, who had been training away from the squad, leaves the camp. In his place comes Iago Aspas, who could make his Spain debut.”

The statement added that Costa had linked up with his Spain teammates on Tuesday with a thigh problem that was detected during tests taken on Monday.

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Costa rejoined the squad for training on Thursday but, following discussions between the player, Lopetegui and the Spain medical team to see if Costa was still feeling any discomfort, he was ruled out of both internationals and replaced by Aspas.

Spain take on Macedonia in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Granada on Friday before facing England in a friendly on Tuesday at Wembley.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Williams has warned Serbia that Wales are a different team to the one they humiliated four years ago.

Williams was on the bench as Wales disintegrated 6-1 in Novi Sad during the early days of Chris Coleman’s tenure in September 2012.

A year later, Serbia punished Wales again by winning their 2014 World Cup qualifying return in Cardiff 3-0.

The teams are set to meet again on Friday on the road to the 2018 World Cup, but much has changed with Wales fresh from reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

“That 6-1 defeat is a long way behind us now, we’ve come so far as a team,” Williams said.

“We haven’t spoken about that game in this campaign. It was early days under Chris and we were just getting used to his tactics.

“It’s hard when a new manager comes in, but what we’ve achieved since then is amazing.

“We can look back on that and say we’ve done something special. We’re strong as a unit now and hopefully we can show that on Saturday. We don’t like losing, let alone 6-1 to a team we’re now looking to beat.”

Wales’ form over the past two years put them among the top seeds when the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw was made.

But they trail Group D leaders Serbia by two points after last month’s draws against Austria and Georgia.

“We’ve got to be realistic, it was never going to be a walk in the park,” Williams said. “We’re top seeds but that doesn’t mean we’re going to finish top.

“But we need to win our home games.”

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