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Euro 2012 - Group C Matchday 2 Recap

Torres lashes double in Gdansk as Spain send Republic of Ireland packing from Euro 2012

Group C

The Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign looked doomed three minutes into their opening Group C fixture with Croatia and the Green Army became the first nation to exit the tournament in Gdansk on Thursday night after being routed 4-0 by World and European champions Spain.

After raising a number of eyebrows with their team selection against Italy in match day one by opting to play without a recognised striker, Spain forcefully changed their tack by thrusting Fernando Torres into the fray and the Chelsea man did not disappoint, netting a fabulous brace to spearhead a completely dominant performance and victory for the Iberians.

Indeed, Torres’ impact was immediate as Ireland once again conceded barely minutes into the contest, after a failure to clear their lines allowed Torres to sneak through and lash the ball home past Shay Given.

Despite Spain’s complete control, Ireland managed to stand firm until the break however the floodgates opened after half time.

Once again, Ireland’s lack of concentration in defence cost them dearly as David Silva poked a shot through a pack of players and into the corner of the goal to beat a despairing Given, who had previously failed to punch a cross away from danger.

Twenty minutes from time, Torres was played through on goal via a delightful through ball from Busquets and finished with aplomb to put the result beyond all reasonable doubt.

Substitute Cesc Fabregas compounded Ireland’s misery seven minutes from time to score his second goal of the championship and ensure that Spain will have a healthy difference should they be tied on points for qualification after their third group fixture with Croatia.

The Croat’s are likely to need a point against Spain to have any chance of reaching the last eight despite salvaging a decent draw against Italy in Poznan.

Mario Mandzukic bagged his third goal of the tournament on 72 minutes to cancel out Andrea Pirlo’s stunning first half free kick; however Mandzukic may be forced to miss his side’s crucial clash with Spain after being stretchered off shortly afterwards.

Although Croatia sit joint top of the group with Spain, two points ahead of Italy, Cesare Prandelli’s men will fancy their chances of progressing with Ireland to come in their final group match.

A win for Italy, which will be expected, would put the Azzurri on five points which would be sufficient should Croatia be beaten by Spain.

Should Italy win and Spain and Croatia draw, various goal difference and goals scored permutations could come into play as all three nations would be tied on five points.

Heading into match day three, Group C looks potentially the most intriguing and many punters will be weighing up whom they fancy to qualify ahead of its conclusion next Monday.

Titan Bet has all the odds and markets available for the remaining group fixtures as Euro 2012 really starts to get serious.