World Cup 2014: Vlaar relishing showdown with Spain hotshot
Ron Vlaar is relishing a showdown with one of world football's hottest properties when Holland take on Spain in Salvador tonight.
Vlaar could be charged with the task of stopping Diego Costa in the mouth-watering World Cup Group B opener.
The powerhouse Atletico Madrid striker scored 36 goals in all competition last season as his club claimed the La Liga title and reached the final of the Champions League.
But the prospect of facing Costa excites Villa skipper Vlaar.
"I think Diego Costa will play up front so that is going to be a great challenge and I am looking forward to it," he said.
"The likes of Spain, Brazil and Germany have really good squads and it is going to be a good challenge to try and beat those teams."
Vlaar wasn't in the Dutch squad that lost out to the Spanish in a fiery final showdown in South Africa four years ago.
But he still felt the pain of his nation when Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal denied them a first World Cup success.
"It was a big chance for Holland to win the World Cup and we were really close. But we lost," said Vlaar.
"It should always burn inside to make something right.
"Of course there are some players who played then and now, but there are also a lot of different players.
"To play against them now in the first game is a great challenge. We have to be at our best that's one thing for sure because Spain have a lot of qualities.
"They have really good players but then so do we. We have to be strong as a team. Work hard together and then we can achieve."
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