Surprise, surprise. Ireland's out of the running to reach the knockout rounds of Euro 2012 after a thumping defeat against Spain which comes as no shock at all. Their stuffing against Croatia meant that they needed a result here, and no reasonable person would have given them much chance.
The pretense that this match was a competition ended in the fourth minute, when Fernando Torres dispossessed Richard Dunne in his own penalty area, rounded Stephen Ward and virtually decapitated Shay Given with a ferocious shot to make it 1-0. And although that scoreline held through halftime, that was more because Spain couldn't really be bothered trying to score more goals than because Ireland was playing well.
Spain decided to put the game to bed after the interval, with David Silva cleaning things up following Given's poor clearance from an Andrés Iniesta shot, and Torres claimed his brace when Ireland tried to push forward in a desperate, fruitless search for a goal. Substitute Cesc Fabregas put the icing on Spain's cake with a thumping drive from a highly acute angle, and Spain ended up winning 4-0.
Spain aren't quite through to the knockout rounds yet, but after the disappointment of their opening 1-1 draw against Italy, they're in very good position to emerge as leaders of Group C after the next round of fixtures.