We lost to a top side, admits awed Andrews

SPAIN 4
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 0

REPUBLIC of Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews admits they were outclassed by Spain after their decisive defeat ended Irish hopes of reaching the European Championship quarter-finals.

Two goals for Fernando Torres and one each for David Silva and Cesc Fabregas ensured Ireland were the first team to be knocked out of the tournament in a game in which they had to avoid defeat, and the reality is that they at no point looked capable of forging a different fate.

Spain, with four points from two games, now top Group C on goal difference and may face England at the tournament’s next stage while Ireland remain bottom with none.

“We tried to say before the game let’s learn our lessons but we shot ourselves in the foot again,” said Andrews. “They were silly goals and we didn’t learn, but they’re such a top side any lapse in concentration is going to hurt you.

“For the majority of the game we were chasing shadows and we couldn’t get near them. They are a fantastic side.”

Torres, starting his first match of the tournament after La Roja began without a striker during their 1-1 draw with Italy, raced beyond a static defence to powerfully finish beyond goalkeeper Shay Given in the fourth minute and what ensued was as effortless a victory as Spain will have known.

Silva calmly placed Spain’s second after more incompetent Irish defending and then inspired a third when putting Torres through for a on-one-on which he finished with all the composure of his 2008 prime.

Substitute Fabregas then drove in a fourth after being left unchallenged.