EASY VICTORY FOR SPAIN
Republic of Ireland's hopes of reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2012 came to a miserable end in Gdansk as defending world and European champions Spain produced a display of utter dominance in a 4-0 victory.
Giovanni Trapattoni's boys in green went into their second game knowing that, having lost to Croatia in their opening Group C match, they had to avoid defeat against Vicente del Bosque's mighty men.
It was always going to be mountain to climb for the Irish and in truth they never got going after Fernando Torres scored inside the opening four minutes.
David Silva, Torres, who started having been left on the bench in Spain's opening draw against Italy, and Cesc Fabregas added further goals in the second half.
The Republic could have little complaint after being outclassed, while they can now only look forward to their final game against Italy in the hope of giving their loyal fans, who sang throughout the defeat by Spain, a real reason to smile.
Spain will head into Monday night's showdown with Croatia with top spot in the group at stake as they currently head the standings on goal difference.
Republic boss Trapattoni said: "I have always had faith and confidence in our attitude. It has always got us good results.
"I will ask the lads how on earth it is possible, after two games, we have conceded two goals in the opening three or four minutes.
"Something has changed from our qualifying campaign. Fear and tension has meant that we have made mistakes we didn't make in the qualifiers.
"We can see the weight on the players' shoulders, but I haven't seen this in training and I am very sad about this."
Torres hailed the return of the "old Spain" after his two goals.
"We really were chomping at the bit ahead of this game to shake off the [1-1] draw against Italy and we saw the old Spain," said the 28-year-old.
"The debate about a number nine will continue.
"This system worked today and worked the other day with Cesc. The good thing is Spain have many players who can fill many positions".
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