Chelsea striker Diego Costa was dropped from the Spain squad on Friday for the European Championship qualifier next week while he nurses a groin injury.”Our doctors have been in contact with Chelsea’s doctors and they have agreed it would be best for him to rest,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.Del Bosque added Diego Costa’s “pain in his groin doesn’t mean he won’t play on Saturday” when Chelsea faces Liverpool in the English Premier League.He made six changes from his last squad, giving forwards Jose Callejon, Manuel “Nolito” Agudo, Alvaro Morata and midfielder Ignacio Camacho chances to make their national team debuts.Spain hosts Belarus in a qualifier for Euro 2016 on Nov. 15 in the southern city of Huelva. Three days later, Spain, the two-time defending European champion, hosts world champion Germany in a friendly in Vigo.Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho complained that Diego Costa wasn’t fit because he was playing too much for Spain. The Brazilian-born striker missed four matches with a muscle injury for Chelsea after he played in Spain’s last two European qualifiers in October. “It was prudent (to drop Diego Costa) because, as we always say, the health of the players comes first,” Del Bosque said. “Costa is the first one who wants to play for us.”Callejon leads Serie A with eight goals for Napoli. Nolito has impressed with Celta this season, helping it stun Barcelona 1-0 last round and climb into sixth place in La Liga. Morata has found playing time with Italian champion Juventus, and Camacho has anchored Malaga’s midfield during its four-game winning streak.”We brought (Callejon and Nolito) for their goals, their good form, and because we may have trouble opening Belarus’ defense which will likely pack its area, so we needed talented players,” Del Bosque said.Spain is second in Group C with six points, level with Ukraine. Slovakia leads the group with nine. Macedonia has three, followed by Belarus and Luxembourg with one point each.Spain: Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David de Gea (Manchester United), Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)Defenders: Raul Albiol (Napoli), Marca Bartra (Barcelona), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Juan Bernat (Bayern Munich)Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Ignacio Camacho (Malaga), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Francisco “Isco” Alarcon (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Raul Garcia (Atletico Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Jose Callejon (Napoli), Manuel “Nolito” Agudo (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Paco Alcacer (Valencia)
VAN NUYS – Nonagenarian Fred Fox is on a mission. Aside from his white beard and sparse hair, the Sherman Oaks resident is the very picture of youthful vitality. On Monday afternoon, the poet, author, educator and great-grandfather boarded a private jet on an expedition to the North Pole. He plans to become its oldest visitor ever by week’s end. “There are many people who decide that when they get old, they’ll fade away,” Fox, 92, said. “I’m clearly not doing that. You’ve gotta fight it off.” His six-day trip was expected to take him first to Rankin Inlet, Canada, on Monday night, then Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island today. They also each packed heavy thermal underwear, two jackets, two pairs of pants, parkas, hats, gloves, boots and bootliners. The temperature has been known to drop to 45 below. Plus wind chill. And this is the nice time of year to go. His nine decades and then some have thus far been a long-running campaign against mortality, fought through rich living. Born in Brooklyn in 1914, Fox mastered the French horn as a teen and went pro when he wasn’t old enough to vote. He toured Europe in a microbus for a year in the ’60s. He’s bound for Africa on a walking safari this summer. He’s a lawn bowling champion who drives his own car. And, along the way, he raised a family of adventurers to follow his lead. They’ve arranged trips to Easter Island and the Galapagos. Last year, they did Australia. Five of them bundled in with Fox as he departed Monday, attempting to become the Robert Edwin Peary of the senior citizen set. “We realized that Grandpa might well be the oldest person to ever go,” said his gray-bearded grandson, the expedition’s organizer. “We contacted the Guinness Book and found out he could get in the record books. We actually think he should be in the record books for plenty of reasons.” After reflecting a bit about growing older without getting old, the elder Fox smiled for the cameras, then pulled on a safari hat and strode onto the Van Nuys Airport tarmac. He waved his hat, nimbly mounted the stairs to the jet, pumped his fist and said a prayer. Then he flew away. [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From there, he switches from one small plane to another, cramming into a tiny Cessna Caravan on skis on Wednesday. It departs Eureka Weather Station, a 10-person installation at 80 degrees north, and heads for the pole, stopping first at 86 degrees north to refuel and leave behind the rescue plane. Then, the pole – at 90 degrees north. Weather permitting, he’ll stay maybe an hour, snap some pictures and head back to civilization and palm trees. “What I’m excited about,” Fox said, “is getting back.” An avid proponent of relaxation and travel who’s fond of bold statements and gesticulations, he will tote with him a 6-foot cardboard cutout in the shape of Santa Claus. His grandson, Dr. Steven Fox, who climbs mountains for fun, will bring an inflatable pink flamingo.