It was a quiet and disappointing night for Robbie Keane & Co. as Ireland lost 4-0 to rampant Spain in Group C action on Thursday.
Fernando Torres opened the scoring in the fourth minute – and added another in the 70th – to pace the defending European and World Cup champions to the group’s co-lead with Croatia on four points. Ireland were eliminated from quarterfinal contention with the loss and will play Italy in their tournament finale.
Keane and the rest of the attacking corps were held almost completely in check by the Spaniards. Outside of a few decent looks on net – Keane had his shot blocked from inside the box just before halftime – Ireland never really troubled Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
In one of the most lopsided contests of the tournament so far – at halftime, Spain had 177 touches in their opponents’ attacking third to Ireland’s 28 – the Spanish put their 1-1 draw with Italy behind them and proved to the rest of the field why they are the world’s current No. 1 team.
David Silva diced his way through three Irish defenders to find the back of the net in the 49th minute, and Torres’ replacement, Cesc Fabregas, added his second goal in as many matches in the 83rd minute, finding a gap in Ireland's defense to slip in a tight-angle shot.
The LA Galaxy striker will search for his first goal of the tournament on June 18, but that will be no small task either as the Irish get set to face an Italian side in need of a win to advance to the knockout stages. So far, Sean St. Ledger's goal in a 3-1 loss to Croatia last Sunday is all the Irish attack has been able to muster.