The Republic of Ireland are out of Euro 2012 after being comprehensively outplayed by Spain in a 4-0 defeat.
There had been talk in the Ireland camp of causing an upset in this fixture, but such talk proved so much ‘blarney’ as Spain found the back of the net after only four minutes.
The ball broke to misfiring striker Fernando Torres who gratefully hammered the ball past Shay Given.
The statistics of Spain having 75% possession began almost immediately as Ireland had no answer to the attacking ambitions of their opponents but while they only trailed by one goal there was always hope.
And for all Spain’s possession the scoreline remained at 1-0 until half-time. But within four minutes of the restart the Irish dream was in tatters. Torres shot was punched by Given straight to David Silva who coolly despatched the ball back into goal.
Torres earned his second of the night when put clear by Silva, then substitute Cesc Fabregas was allowed time to smash the ball past Given.
Spain are now unbeaten in their last 17 competitive matches and are well placed to progress into the quarter finals and defend their Euro title, whilst Ireland lost back-to-back matches at a major tournament for the first time.
Referee: Pedro Proença (POR)
Venue: Arena Gdansk, Gdansk
Spain scorers: Torres 4, 69, Silva 49, Fabregas 83
R of Ireland scorers:
Yellow cards: Yellow cards: Keane (IRE), Whelan (IRE), Alonso (SPA), Martinez (SPA)