European Championship

June 14, 2012

Full-time

Spain

4 - 0

Republic of Ireland

Group C

18:45 +00:00, June 14, 2012

Arena Gdansk, Poland

  • 93'

    Looking ahead to tomorrow, it is the second round of Group D. Here is our preview of England's clash with Sweden and our take on the task facing co-hosts Ukraine as they tackle France. See you then.

  • 93'

    As for Ireland, they knew it was an uphill task but the gulf in class was massive. McClean might have offered them hope had he been introduced earlier but the defensive solidity that saw them through qualifying has deserted them since the tournament started.

  • 93'

    Torres was excellent this evening, looking as sharp as I've seen him in the last 18 months really. Took his goal s really well, linked play superbly and put his fair share of pressing in too. It'll be interesting to see what formation Del Bosque employs in the Croatia game.

  • 93'

    FULL TIME - that is that and Spain cruised to victory. Ireland go out but have a game against Italy in which to sign off. On this form it is hard to look past Spain retaining their trophy.

  • 91'

    "Fields of Athenry," still going. It really is a brilliant song when sung by thousands in a cavernous stadium. Irish fans are Champions League class.

  • 90'

    Three minutes added...

  • 89'

    Brilliant rendition of "The Fields of Athenry," ringing rounds the stadium with clapping assistance from the Spanish fans. Superb.

  • 88'


    The man of the moment

  • 87'

    Great atmosphere in the stadium, both sets of fans having a sing song.

  • 86'

    I still maintain McClean should have been on at half time. Take the game to Spain, not sit back and take the inevitable punishment.

  • 85'

    This is Ireland's heaviest Euros defeat and they are heading out of the tournament. Spain now only need draw with Croatia to go through.

  • 84'

    St. Ledger goes in the book, out of frustration really. Caught Silva on the top of the foot.

  • 83'

    GOAL Fabregas with a thumper! My word that was hit hard! The corner is taken short, Fabregas takes it past Green and rifles it home off the far post.

  • 82'

    Lovely move from Spain, Xavi finding Arbeloa and Cazorla firing the cross to the near post for Given to save.

  • 81'

    "Viva Espnana," sing the Spanish fans.

  • 80'

    An Ireland change too as Paul Green replaces Glenn Whelan.

  • 79'

    The sublime Iniesta heads off and Santi Cazorla of Malaga replaces him.

  • 78'

    The next mission, of course, is to try and get the ball to McClean.

  • 77'

    Silva clipped, Spain free kick in range, fired over by Xavi.

  • 76'

    Finally, McClean gets a taste of the action. Duff heads off. Huge cheer for McClean. Not too late for him to change the game is it?

  • 75'

    Javi Martinez is booked for a lunge on Whelan. He gets a tiny bit of the top of the ball but then his studs career into Whelan's shin. Nasty.

  • 74'

    Ireland's best chance as Keane gets into the area and forces Casillas into a smart stop low down.

  • 73'

    A good shift from Torres, who looks a little peeved to be coming off. Cesc Fabregas replaces him.

  • 72'


    David Silva slots home number two

  • 71'

    Easy pickings for such a quality team like Spain. They played this perfectly, early goal, tire out opponents, second goal, force them to come out, pick them off at will.

  • 70'

    GOAL Torres with a tidy finish. Game over. Ireland had to open up and they paid the price. A simple through ball from Silva and a cool finish from Torres, who waits and age before finding the corner.

  • 69'

    This is turning into murder on the Gdansk floor *shamelessly stolen from Twitter*

  • 67'

    This referee doesn't like contact in the box. St.Ledger is penalised for a jump from the corner. Then Ward tackles Torres to prevent offering up another chance.

  • 66'

    Ireland are opening up a little here and McGeady crosses for Walters before Ramos takes the cross off Casillas' hands. Corner.

  • 65'

    Xabi Alonso heads off and Javi Martinez is on.

  • 65'

    Ireland's best opening as McGeady's shot is blocked, then he feeds Andrews who tries a flick towards the penalty spot after neglecting to take on a shot with his left foot.

  • 64'

    Keane gets a nasty one on his ankle as Busquets dived in to try and block a shot after Walters had gone up for a long ball into the box.

  • 63'

    From the corner the ball hangs around in the area for an age - Torres tries a back hell before Busquets fires wide from the edge of the penalty area.

  • 62'

    Very nearly 3-0 as O'Shea slips and Silva gets into the six-yard box but Dunne blocks his cross.

  • 61'

    McGeady finally swings in a decent cross. Well, I say decent, Casillas claims it.

  • 60'

    Trap - get James McClean onto this football pitch. NOW!

  • 58'

    Torres races onto an Iniesta through ball but is flagged offside. He overran the ball though and Given saved.

  • 57'

    Ireland aren't really doing anything here, not pushing forward nor shutting up shop. Spain are in total control and looking supremely confident.

  • 56'

    What a save from Given! The ball breaks to Xavi who hammers the ball goalwards from 12 yards but a superb one-handed save has kept the game alive. Just about.

  • 55'

    The reason for that 2-2 equation is that if all end level on points it comes down to the mini-league between the three.

  • 54'

    Alonso is late on Walters and gets a card. A harsh booking.

  • 53'

    As it stands, with Spain likely to win this game, a 2-2 draw between them and Croatia in their final match would put both through and eliminate Italy, no matter how many goals they beat Ireland by in their final game.

  • 52'

    This is the time where it could get ugly for Ireland. They need something from this and have to push forward and we all know what happens when Spain are afforded more space and time.

  • 51'

    Again Ireland undone by an early goal, four minutes into the half, just like in the first period.

  • 50'

    It was a double nutmeg from Silva to score, which explains why such a weak shot beat Given. Before that the goalkeeper had punched meekly right to Silva from Torres' shot. He's not had a good tournament.

  • 49'

    GOAL Silva makes it 2-0! That was oh so easy. To Silva in the area, he jinks a few times before slotting a pass into the corner past Given.

  • 48'

    Whelan gives the ball away, Torres nips and and gives it Xavi, he finds Arbeloa but Given stands up well to save his shot.

  • 47'

    Walters isn't quite playing as a striker, he's dropping into midfield when Ireland don't have possession. Which is pretty much all the time.

  • 46'

    We begin again with the news that Cox has been removed and Walters has replaced him. Bit harsh that.

  •  

    Looking ahead to tomorrow for a second, it is the second round of Group D. Here is our preview of England's clash with Sweden and our take on the task facing co-hosts Ukraine as they tackle France.

  •  

    As for Spain, they just need to try and find the killer pass and the second goal that will surely kill off Ireland. They've been excellent in possession as ever but it must be hard to find a way through when a team pack their midfield so tight.

  •  

    I'd love to see James McClean get a crack at Spain. Ireland need something from the game, McGeady has been very disappointing and McClean is raw and exciting. He'll have a go at the very least.

  •  


    Ireland have tried to stay as close as possible to Spain's superstars

  • 45'

    HALF TIME Good save from Given as Spain's free kick is cleared to Iniesta who controls with his right then half-volleys on goal. No time to take the corner as that is half time. Spain in control but only Torres' goal to show for it.

  • 45'

    First real opening for Ireland as Cox takes the ball down and finds Keane but Ramos stands up well to block his shot. It was a long punt that caused the problems. Then as Spain break Whelan clips Silva and is booked.

  • 44'

    Two vital blocks as first Given saves from Arbeloa's deflected shot, then as the ball drops to Xavi, St. Ledger gets in the way.

  • 43'

    All hands to the pump until half time here and Ireland can regroup and try to plot a way of getting a goal.

  • 42'

    Four Irish players surround Xavi but he still gets the shot off. Given is well positioned to save.

  • 41'

    Whelan tugs back Iniesta and the referee awards the free kick. Sometimes Ireland's eagerness to close Spain down leads to niggly fouls.

  • 40'

    Well done Dunne. He tracks Iniesta into the box and makes a vital block.

  • 39'

    A waste from Torres after a good run and a pinpoint pass from Iniesta. He had two chances to chip Given but sprayed it wide to Arbeloa, he cut it back to Alonso but by that stage Ireland were back in their shape.

  • 38'

    A huge cheer goes up as Ireland win the ball back. But Keane plays O'Shea into trouble and he ends up having to win a throw in off Iniesta.

  • 37'

    Get to half time at 1-0 and Ireland will be pleased with their evening's work so far.

  • 36'

    Keane sees yellow for a late one on Iniesta. Genuine attempt to get the ball, just misjudged. Harsh booking. The ref should book himself for that Andrews bump.

  • 35'

    Good early throw on the right from Arbeloa and Torres pokes a feeble effort on Given. Then the referee bundles Andrews over and only a sloppy ball from Torres prevents it becoming 2-0. Andrews is furious!

  • 34'

    Spain have only enjoyed 63% possession so far. Bordering on respectable for Ireland that.

  • 33'

    For all Spain's possession and territorial dominance, it is only 1-0. Small mercies.

  • 32'

    Good tackle from Andrews who slides in on Silva. The Irish fans loved that.

  • 31'

    Busquets is blocked off when Silva returns the ball into his path. No free kick.

  • 30'

    Spain have favoured the diagonal ball in certain situations with Arbeloa getting to the back post. He wins it for Silva this time but was marginally offside.

  • 29'

    Well, the opening half an hour has materialised exactly as we expected. Spain utterly dominant. Ireland clinging on.

  • 28'

    McGeady has been terrible so far in this tournament. Duff finds him in space, he waits an age then can't clear the first man with his cross.

  • 27'

    From Xavi's delivery Pique wins a free header but can't get enough of a glance on it to trouble Given.

  • 26'

    They work it back to Alonso and his searing effort takes a tiny flick off Dunne. Corner. Again.

  • 25'

    Another half chance for Silva this time as Alba gets forward and crosses. There was an Irish touch on the effort and Spain have a corner.

  • 24'

    The other thing this tactic does is ensure Ireland will be out on their feet after an hour or so. Tireless closing down.

  • 23'

    Spain win the ball back the second they lose it. Arbeloa pinches it this time and offloads to Iniesta and Given dives across to save his shot from 20 yards.

  • 22'

    No real clear cut chance for Spain after Torres' opener. They are getting closer to a second though you feel.

  • 21'

    Andrews gives away a free kick but Spain's rehearsed routine is cleared by Whelan. Then Dunne clears Alba's cross.

  • 20'


    Torres fires home for Spain

  • 19'

    Decent break out from Duff though after Ward wins the ball. The Fulham winger goes wide and tries to loft a ball over Ramos for Keane. Casillas is out.

  • 18'

    It's not a tactic they can employ for 90 minutes if they want to get a result.

  • 17'

    Very little purchase up front for Ireland when they do get the ball. Just a concentration on shape and trying to deny too much space.

  • 16'

    Pique meanders forward and Torres finds him with a battling turn but the centre back's shot is right at Given.

  • 15'

    A bit too intricate from Spain inside the area as Alba finds Iniesta but Duff is back and Spain have a corner.

  • 14'

    Fabulous pass from Alonso, slide rule into Xavi and St. Ledger gets in quickly to boot it behind. It flicked off Xavi though and Ireland have a goal kick.

  • 13'

    A big banner in the stands reads: "Ireland, Italy, Spain. The group of debt." An oldy, but a goody.

  • 12'

    Fantastic last ditch tackle from Ward as Silva slipped Torres in but the flag was up for offside.

  • 11'

    Nice ball over the top to Keane on the left flank. He feeds McGeady but the winger overruns the ball and hands Spain a goal kick. On the bench, James McClean rolls his eyes.

  • 10'

    Dunne meets the corner but his header flops wide of the far post.

  • 9'

    Andrews has a pop from range and wins a corner after it takes a flick off a defender.

  • 8'

    That was Torres' first tournament goal since he netted the winner at Euro 2008.

  • 7'

    It took Torres less than five minutes to make his point to Del Bosque then. That will settle his nerves too, and he nearly makes it two after firing wide from Arbeloa's knock down.

  • 6'

    Spain can relax into the game now knowing that Ireland are far from potent. Another half chance as McGeady relinquishes possession and Silva fires right at Given.

  • 5'

    A bit of a nightmare for Ireland as Dunne can't get up quick enough after tackling Silva and Torres' fierce shot flies right over Given's head. A long night for Ireland just got longer.

  • 4'

    GOAL Torres scores! That is a fine finish. It looked like Dunne had curtailed Silva's run but Torres pinched the ball and lashed it into the roof of the net.

  • 4'

    The first stretch of tiki taka from Spain is ended with a thump clear from Stephen Ward. Their fans cheer every pass.

  • 3'

    A bit of a cruncher on Busquets from Andrews. He did get some ball though.

  • 2'

    From the free kick Andrews fires it into Cox and he tests Casillas with a long range shot.

  • 2'

    It's all Ireland so far. Spain can't get a kick. And Cox wins a free kick.

  • 1'

    KICK OFF - this countdown is getting right on my wick.

  •  

    You know there are nights when you can just sense an upset in the air, just from vibes floating through your tele? Yes? Well tonight isn't one of those nights.

  •  

    Two brilliant anthems belted out with fervour, Ireland easily outnumber Spain in terms of the fan count. The boys in green should qualify for every major tournament on the strength of their fans alone.

  •  

    A cheeky stat for you as the Irish anthem blares out - Spain have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 games with Ireland.

  •  

    Spain can't afford to slip up tonight after that opening draw with Italy. They lamented the pitch in Gdansk after the game and they will hope the same surface is heavily watered tonight. Ireland probably have sent Richard Dunne out to deck the groundsman and turn the taps off.

  •  

    And how about this pearler from Trapattoni's assistant, Marco Tardelli: "You might think we are the Cinderella of the group - but we are not. We believe. We will go out onto the pitch to win the match. The mood is perfect."

  •  

    Ireland are certainly talking a good game though. Here's Robbie Keane: "It's a major tournament - anything can happen. There is no reason to believe that we can't get a result."

  •  

    On paper, it does look like this could get ugly. Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan up against Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta. It doesn't seem fair does it? But as Chelsea proved in the Champions League, sometimes odd things happen in football. Could we see a shock tonight?

  •  

    Ireland make a change too, as Simon Cox comes in for Kevin Doyle up front. He'll play just behind Robbie Keane in an interchangeable forward line.

  •  

    So, Spain abandon the 6-4-0 formation after Vicente Del Bosque was forced to defend it all week, insisting he'd have no problems sticking to it. Torres is in and Fabregas drops out, harsh given that he scored Spain's goal in the 1-1 draw with Italy.

  •  


    Can this man get on the scoresheet tonight after being handed a rare start?