EURO 2012: TORRES DOWNS THE IRISH
Fernando Torres returned to the Spain starting line-up and rewarded the selection decision with two goals in a 4-0 win on Thursday night.
The Chelsea striker put his misses as a substitute in the opening game behind him by firing his side ahead inside four minutes against Republic of Ireland. The ball broke his way on the edge of the box and he ran wide of the defence before blasting into the roof of the net for one of the goals of Euro 2012 so far.
In a one-sided match, David Silva made it 2-0 as Ireland conceded shortly after the start of the second half as well. Then Torres, who had put another chance wide in the first half, made it 3-0 on 69 minutes. Played through by Silva, he struck a well-placed shot beyond Shay Given for his 30th international goal, the third highest total in Spain's history.
He was replaced five minutes later by Cesc Fabregas who completed the scoring, the result eliminating Ireland from the knockout stages.
Juan Mata remained on the bench for Spain who now lead their group on goal difference from Croatia who drew 1-1 with Italy in Thursday's earlier game. The top two meet in their final group game on Monday.