GDANSK, Poland, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Reigning champions Spain sent Ireland packing with an easy 4-0 win here on Thursday in a second round match of Euro 2012 Group C.
Ireland, who had lost to Croatia 3-1 in their first group game, became the first team being eliminated from the tournament. So far, Spain are topping the group with four points, followed by Croatia, also four points but scored less, Italy two, and Ireland nil.
In the last round, Spain will take on Croatia, while Italy face Ireland. Italy must beat Ireland to get three points. But maybe that is not still not enough. Under the tournament's qualification rule, if teams get equal points, the standings will be decided by the sequence of head-to-head results, head-to-head goal difference, head-to-head goals.
If Spain and Croatia make a 2-2 tie in the last round, Italy is doomed to be eliminated no matter how many goals they score in their win over Ireland. The dilemma is the same as that in the Euro 2004, in which Italy was the victim when Sweden and Denmark drew 2-2.
Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who had been the director of the Italian team in the Euro 2004, expressed his hope that such kind of thing should not happen again.
Telling the post-match press conference, Trapattoni said,"If they really make a 2-2 tie, it will create doubts. Everybody should keep an eye on what is happening on the pitch."
Meanwhile, he noted that in spite of being out of the tournament, his team would not give up in their last match against Italy. "If Italy want to advance, they must play well on the pitch, show their better quality. I hope my players will finish the game with their heads high."
It was drizzling almost all day in the port city of Gdansk, but the watering pitch seemed to have no impact on Spain's famous football style of Tiki Taka.
Spain Forward Fernando Torres, who had been under critics since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, opened the scoring only four minutes into the game. It looked like Ireland defender Richard Dunne had curtailed David Silva's run but Torres pinched the ball and lashed it into the roof of the net. He scored again in the 70th minute with a cool finish on a simple through ball from Silva.
Torres was named the Man of the Match.
Trapattoni said,"We made mistakes, gifting them a goal too early, which had obvious impact on us. We made the same mistake in the game against Croatia."
Silva doubled the lead in the 49th minute when he got the ball in the box, jinking a few times and then sent the ball into the corner of net.
Cesc Fabregas sealed the 4-0 win in the 83rd minute on a short corner.
As Spain totally controlled the game, Ireland's goalkeeper Shay Given was often in the limelight. He made several incredible saves but that was not enough.
In the lopsided game, Spain enjoyed 66 percent of ball possession and 26 shots including 20 on target.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said,"I put Torres in the starting 11 because we have so many good players. I must give them chances. Today, Torres did his best."
"Today, the whole team felt comfortable on the pitch," he added.
Answering the question about the possible 2-2 tie with Croatia, Bosque noted, "We will aim to win. No calculation at all."
In their first Group C game, Spain were held a 1-1 draw by Italy having rescued a point with Fabregas' 64th-minute goal.