Game in a sentence
In the most one-sided match this tournament has seen and will see, Spain stroll to a comfortable victory over Ireland in Gdansk.
- Spain were as expected, Ireland once again were not but we learned very little about Spain and learned a lot about Ireland.
- The reigning European and World Champions brought their tiki-taka approach to the game, were far too good for Ireland, despite being wasteful with their chances at times.
- Ireland, meanwhile, were never in the game but will once again be disappointed in their uncharacteristically poor starts to halves and poor defending.
- Giovanni Trapattoni’s men suffered their worst loss under the Italian manager and will be haunted by conceding within the first four minutes of each half, just as they did against Croatia in their first match.
- The clock wasn’t even on four minutes when Andres Iniesta’s ball through Ireland’s defence wasn’t dealt with by Richard Dunne, allowing Fernando Torres to round Stephen Ward and fire a rocket of a shot past Shay Given.
- There was really no excuses for Ireland’s slow start or their lack of desire on the goal. Dunne’s sliding tackle was decent but at that point he needed a teammate to react quickly to the ball and clear it from the danger zone.
- Instead it was excellent work by Torres who did what his fans have been missing, by picking up the ball, sprinting towards space and immediately firing a shot on goal. 1-0.
- Spain had their lead and had Ireland on the ropes but instead of going for the knockout punch in the first half they took far too many touches and were careless with the final ball.
- They were, however, absolutely outstanding once again in the short periods of time that they didn’t have the ball, pressing Ireland in their own half, turning the ball over at will and never allowing their opponents to take a breather with the ball.
- The second half began with David Silva producing a sublime piece of skill inside the box to score past Shay Given and after that a training game broke out.
- Torres got a second when he scored on a one-on-one situation that suddenly made him one of the favourites, alongside Mario Gomez and Alan Dzagoev, for the tournament’s golden boot. His brace in a big moment will reignite his backers although it remains to be seen what he can do against top class opposition.
- Ireland, now officially eliminated from this tournament, were out of their depth in this tournament and you could argue their side would be relegated in the Premier League, for example. They did have their fans who never stopped signing throughout, never showed any signs of aggression and were a real credit to themselves and their homeland.
- They will now move on to Poznan on Monday against Italy and you’d have to think Trapattoni may be a little more adventurous and certainly include James McClean who came on as a sub in this game.
- Spain, despite their dominance in this match, are still not through to the next round but on this night replaced their false nine and found a real number nine. Whether that continues is up to Mr Torres.
- Andres Iniesta
- Fernando Torres