[EURO 2012 WRAP] Reigning champion Spain dominated Ireland, 4-0, making it the first team eliminated. Andrea Pirlo's free kick gave Italy the lead it couldn't hold it as Croatia answered, and they finished tied 1-1.
Spanish fans put Coach Vincente del Bosque under the microscope for not starting a forward against Italy. Fernando Torres was in the starting 11 at Arena Gdansk, and rewarded the coach’s decision inside four minutes against Ireland. Torres scored the first of his two goals as Spain reminded everyone why they’ve won the last two major championships.
It was 1-0 at halftime, but Spain owned the game, and David Silva ended all doubt in the 49th minute. Torres scored his second before giving way to Cesc Fabregas, who finished the scoring. The 4-0 final puts Spain top of the group. Ireland plays Italy on Monday, before heading home.
Spain’s first game demonstrated how tough repeating can be; this performance reminded everyone how devastating Spain can be.
The early game in Poznan between Italy and Croatia didn’t see the same number of chances. Andrea Pirlo’s 39th minute free kick, and his performance against Spain, proved the 33- year-old is still world class. Pirlo’s wonderful goal was the first direct free-kick goal in Euro 2012.
Italy played for a 1-0 win, but was punished for poor marking in the 72nd minute by Mario Mandzukic who beat Gianluigi Buffon. The game finished 1-1, Croatia is level on points with Spain with 4pts, Italy needs help with 2pts.
Did you know …
* It was Pirlo’s 10th goal for Italy.
* Torres’ goal was the fastest in Spain’s Euro history.
*After a full week at Euro 2012, and 14 games played, there has not been a single scoreless tie.
For the Group C outlook going into the final round of group play, go HERE.