Euro 2012: Silva's Spain send Ireland home
- Thu 14 Jun 2012, 9:40PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
David Silva was instrumental in Spain's 4-0 win over Ireland, scoring one goal and setting up two to make Giovanni Trapattoni's team the first casualties of Euro 2012.
There was plenty of speculation surrounding Vincente Del Bosque’s team selection ahead of their match against Republic of Ireland after his controversial decision to play without a recognised striker in their 1-1 draw with Italy on match day one.
This time Del Bosque elected to field Fernando Torres upfront, and David Silva was preferred to Cesc Fabregas at the tip of Spain’s midfield five. It was a positive approach that reaped instant dividends.
After Italy's 1-1 draw with Croatia earlier in the day, Ireland knew that they needed to avoid defeat to stay in the tournament and they got off to the worst possible start again, conceding after just four minutes.
Fernando Torres pick-pocketed ex-Blue Richard Dunne, took a touch beyond Stephen Ward and flashed a shot past Shay Given to give Spain an early lead. From then, it was a case of Ireland just trying to hang onto Spanish coattails, as Los Rojas pressed, passed and carved out chance after chance.
Xavi conducted from deep, Iniesta buzzed mischievously between the lines, Silva fluttered and probed as Spain performed their full boa constrictor act for the first half, suffocating the Irish resistance under long, arduous periods of possession.
The second half continued in the same pattern as the first and Spain doubled their advantage in the 49th minute through City’s David Silva, who reacted first to a Shay Given punch, feinted both ways and tucked a measured finish beyond Given’s despairing reach.
Ireland could do nothing to stem the tide of Spanish attacks and they added to their lead courtesy of Fernando Torres’ second goal on 70 minutes.
David Silva won possession and played a perfectly weighted through ball to the Chelsea striker who clipped the ball around Given.
With 8 minutes to go there was further punishment in store.
Silva was provider again, this time he played a short corner to Cesc Fabregas, no Ireland defenders reacted, and the former Arsenal man smashed the ball in off the post.
The Green Army sang through the pain but their team badly let them down on the night with a rash of individual errors that made a very good Spain team's task simpler than it might have been.
It was a huge ask for Ireland to progress from such a difficult group, but the manner of their surrender will have disappointed their legion of travelling fans.
Established international heavyweights like Croatia and Spain hardly need gifts, but the Ireland defence uncharacteristically caved in too easily and too often in these two matches to give Trapattoni’s men any chance of advancing.
City Eurowatch: David Silva
David was a constant source of menace to the Ireland defence, floating in behind Fernando Torres and exploding into 10-yard dribbles, lending the ball to teammates and seeking the gaps between the Irish rear-guard action.
It was Silva who pulled the ball down from the Gdansk sky in the move leading to Los Rojas’ opener, it was Silva who doubled Spain’s lead in the 49th minute with a clever finish through a couple of pairs of Irish legs and it was our very own Merlin again who set up Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas for Spain's third and fourth goals.
There's plenty of City involvement in tomorrow's matches with Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott and James Milner's England taking on Sweden and Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy's France playing the co-hosts. You'll get all of the news here on the Manchester City website.