Euro 2012: Torres double leads Spain, Italy ties Croatia

FernandoTorresEuro (Getty)

So maybe Spain just needed a starting forward after all.

Fernando Torres delivered two goals as the defending European champions cruised to a 4-0 victory over Ireland on Thursday. The victory moved Spain into first place in Euro Group C, setting up an exciting final day of action.

David Silva and Cesc Fabregas also provided second-half goal as the Spanish dominated Ireland and helped make the Irish the first team to be eliminated from the Euros.

Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque scrapped his 'no-true forward' lineup and brought Torres into the squad, sitting Fabregas, and the Chelsea striker responded with the type of performance that has him looking like the dangerous Torres of old, and has Spain looking like a good pick to repeat as champions.

In Group C's other match on Thursday:

ITALY 1, CROATIA 1

Andrea Pirlo turned back the clock on Thursday with a beautiful free kick goal that gave Italy hope of moving closer to the Euro knockout rounds, but Croatia spoiled that storyline, as striker Mario Mandzukis torched Giorgio Chiellini to help the Croats register a 1-1 draw in Poznan, Poland.

Italy looked like the better bet to take three points with a controlled first half, and when Pirlo curled a free kick over the Croatia wall and into the lower corner, the 'Azzurri' looked sharp. The second half was a different story, with Croatia taking control and flashing the skill that made them one of the top darkhorse picks coming into the tournament. Italy looked content to sit back and ultimately paid the price.

The draw leaves Italy in danger of failing to qualify for the knockout rounds. They will need to beat Ireland on the final match-day and have a winner emerge from the Spain-Croatia match (unless they can make up the goal difference on Croatia).

GROUP C STANDINGS

T-1. Spain (4 points, 1-0-1, +4 GD)

T-1. Croatia (4 points, 1-0-1, +2 GD)

3. Italy (2 point, 0-0-2, 0 GD)

4. Ireland (0 points, 0-2-0, -6 GD)

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What did you think of these Group C matches? Think Torres is ready to lead Spain to a repeat? Disappointed with Ireland's effort? Impressed with 

Share your thoughts below.

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6 Responses to Euro 2012: Torres double leads Spain, Italy ties Croatia

  1. Once again, the Republic of eire created toil of an already troublesome task by conceding an early goal – a criminal offence when facing the globe and European champions. In their gap cluster C game,

  2. ballzgasmic says:

    It’s not “Croats,” it’s “Croatians.” Croats are scattered across Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other outlying countries. Just an FYI.

  3. Dave says:

    What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, its “picayune”.

  4. KC says:

    I hope Italy get’s eliminated ASAP. Even if they are playing attacking football now, you just never know when they’ll go back to defend with 10 in the box.
    Most likely during the final.

  5. Arnie says:

    like every other team in the tourney aside from Spain

  6. Jeff says:

    Looks like they are launching an investigation into racist chants and banana throwing in the Italy/Croatia game. It should be open and shut, as the monkey noises were plain as day as Balotelli was being substituted.