One team came and one team left the Euro 2012 party in Gdansk yesterday. A thumping result for the Spanish which sees them go level on points with Croatia at the top of the group after their draw with Italy.
Del Bosque opted to use Torres as the only recognised striker against the Irish and the stage was set for him and boy did he deliver. It took him three minutes to break his Euro duct in this competition. Richard Dunne blocked Silva’s initial effort and Torres nicked the ball of Stephen Ward’s toes to smash the ball past Shay Given. It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Irish who needed a win to have any chance of progressing.
It was always going to be one of those games like Chelsea-Barcelona and in most ways it was. Spain strangled the game after the opening goal and dominated possession in the Irish half. When the Irish had the ball both Duff and McGeady were far too deep to pose any real threat to the Spanish goal. Admittedly Spain should have been more than one goal up at half time but they spurned glorious opportunities which gave the Irish fans hope of what can only be described as the impossible?
They didn’t. It went from bad to worse after half time when they were two down after three minutes when Silva cooly slotted the ball home after Given parmed Iniesta’s fierce shot into his path. With goal difference a potential factor you got the impression that the Spanish weren’t finished there. Silva went from goalscorer to provider when a clever little pass fell to Torres who grabbed his second of the night. A night which showed glimpses of the player that tore apart teams at Anfield many moons ago. With a European hattrick on the cards, Torres was frankly bemused when he was substituted by Del Bosque for Fabregas and his frustartion was there for all to see.
The sub impressed though and grabbed his second of the tournament in the 82nd minute when his cross-shot clipped the inside of the post rounding off a routine night for the Spanish in Gdansk. The Irish played with ‘fear’ according to Trappattoni. The Irish have become the first side to be knocked out of this year’s competition which is a major blow to all the players and staff who have worked hard to give themselves a fighting chance.