Torres inspires Spain to Ireland rout

Story highlights

  • Fernando Torres scores twice in 4-0 victory for defending champions Spain
  • David Silva and Cesc Fabregas also on target as Ireland are eliminated
  • Mario Mandzukic secures a 1-1 for Croatia against Italy
  • Italy took lead though Andrea Pirlo's brilliant first-half free-kick

Fernando Torres rediscovered his scoring touch as Spain soared to the top of Euro 2012 Group C and knocked the Republic of Ireland out of the tournament.

The much-maligned striker, who spurned several chances in Spain's opening game against Italy, scored twice as the defending champions cruised to a 4-0 win in Gdansk.

Strikes from David Silva and Cesc Fabregas helped to see off Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland, who become the first team eliminated from Euro 2012.

In Thursday's other game in Group C, Croatia fought back to hold Italy to a 1-1 draw.

The Italians dominated the first half and evergreen playmaker Andrea Pirlo put his side in front with an exquisite free-kick.

But in-form striker Mario Mandzukic, who scored twice in Croatia's first match, brought his tournament tally to three with an emphatic finish to earn a point.

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Spain 4-0 Ireland

Fernando Torres bagged a much-needed double as Spain thrashed the Republic of Ireland and cemented their status as Euro 2012 favorites.

After being frustrated by Italy in their opening game, Vicente Del Bosque's world champions looked close to their best in a display that dazzled the Irish.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side struggled to create a meaningful chance in the whole match and they limp out of the tournament following two defeats.

Spain outclassed their opponents from the first whistle and led after four minutes when Torres skipped away from Richard Dunne's challenge and blasted high into the net.

Goalkeeper Shay Given kept his side in it until halftime, making several saves as the Spanish controlled possession and created chances at will.

But Ireland's dreams were extinguished shortly after the break when Given could only parry Andres Iniesta's strike straight to David Silva, who placed a remarkably cool finish past the keeper's despairing dive.

But the night belonged to Torres, who was restored to the starting lineup as Spain ditched the unusual 4-6-0 formation employed against Italy.

The Chelsea striker notched his second of the evening when Ireland carelessly lost the ball in midfield and Silva sent him through to tuck a calm finish past Given.

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