Those of us who support lowly clubs can find it difficult to imagine the fuss made over two defeats suffered by a goliath. Will this weekend's Copa offer some respite?
Diego Simeone may call people who think Atletico Madrid can win the league 'fools', but after Barcelona's defeat at the weekend, Atleti are level at the top of La Liga...
Spain merely need to move an inch forward to qualify for the World Cup, with the team equal on points in Group I with France but possessing a superior head-to-head record and a game in hand. What's more, the two final matches are both at home against Belarus and Georgia. With Spain not being England in any way, shape, or form, this probably won't be an issue.
This sees the final international games for Spain as a chance to plug a few final gaps in the squad. Whilst nine or so of the side are fairly predictable choices, there is still an open slot for a striker. However, the taxing problem for Vicente Del Bosque is that there are currently eight choices for a single No 9 spot. Here are the Spain manager's options, in alphabetical order for complete fairness.
The naturalised Brazilian is a big bolt out of the blue for Spain, whaving recently expressing an interest in signing up with Del Bosque and the national manager being very keen indeed. The Atletico Madrid striker has a bit of everything offered by all the other forward in this list and is currently the hottest property in La Liga. The one big bonus that Costa really brings to the table though is a brutal physicality and outright nastiness on the pitch, something that is quite lacking from Spain's other forward options.
Of course, Del Bosque may decide to discard all other options available and once again opt not to play a proper forward at all. It's a move that will still have many a local fan slapping their foreheads in frustration. But why not? Cesc as the 'false nine' is a notion that has brought rewards both for Spain and Barcelona in the past, so perhaps it is best not to mess with a winning system.
The big lad up front was once the golden child of La Liga and Llorente was expected to be the missing link for Spain. The Navarran has the physical presence up front and is also capable of handling the fancy-pants passing style of the team as well. Unfortunately, Llorente's career has nose-dived with a lost year in exile at Athletic Bilbao and only two starts in the league for Juventus. There may be too much catching up to do in Serie A and too few matches left for Spain for Llorente to force his way into the starting line-up in Brazil.
Although the Swansea striker has been called up to replace the injured David Villa, there is the feeling that his ship has already sailed in terms of an international future. After all, if Michu was ever to have been part of Del Bosque's plans it would have been during golden spells over the past two seasons with Rayo Vallecano and his current Premier League outfit, rather than now.
The former Sevilla man's star is rising rapidly due to a bright start with Manchester City, to wipe away the memory of a stagnating career in Andalusia. Negredo has been in and out of the squad for a number of years now but if the striker continues to knock in the goals for his club, then his aggressive attitude and versatility across the forward line could see the gamble of changing leagues paying off in Brazil.
It is hard to know exactly where Soldado stands in terms of Del Bosque, a manager who is thought to have been a bit sniffy over the striker ever since working with a teenage version at Real Madrid. The call-up for a talented all-rounder took an age to come around, and Soldado has largely done reasonably well when given the chance. Nevertheless, the Spurs man's place in the national squad is not a guarantee, never mind in the starting line-up.
The striker may be a butt of jokes in England - and in Spain as well, to an extent - but Torres has delivered in all three of the past three tournaments for his country and this should not be overlooked. Despite current club form, Torres has proven himself again and again for his country, has played under the most intense pressure possible in world football and never crumbled. However, the future of Torres with his country depends entirely on what happens with his club.
If there is one defining feature of Del Bosque as an international manager, it's his loyalty to those that have served him well in the past. That is how Iker Casillas is still between the sticks for Spain, despite only playing in the Champions League for his club. Villa is still a huge figure for his country, what with being the top scorer of all time and all that, and if the forward can find some form at Atlético Madrid, then he will still be very high in the pecking order.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter
I think Diego Costa playing for Spain is the kind of thing Wilshire was speaking against...- kether