Wednesday 21 March 2018

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Andres Iniesta

The Spanish midfielder oozed class. A safecracker who almost seems to have the exact code whatever the situation, his opening incision set the tone for the breakthrough goal and he controlled affairs like a wizened general in pipe and slippers relax mode.

Magic moment

Fernando Torres, much-maligned by every armchair Premiership fan in the country, provided two of them, wounding Ireland with a peerless exclamation that his class will always remain permanent.

Turning point

In four halves of football, Ireland have conceded within minutes of each one, a criminal lapse at this level of international football and the early opening allowed the Spanish to set aside any potential jitters and control the tempo.

Talking point

Trapattoni's gamble on a starting line-up that even a week ago may have seemed repugnant to his steadfast ideals gripped every Irish fan with nervous anticipation.

Crowd watch

The Irish supporters are the European champions, Once more outnumbering the opposition with about two-thirds of the 35,000 available seats, they were unstinting in their acclamation for their heroes, regardless of the inclement weather conditions and the even stiffer obstacles that were presented to their side on the pitch. And no segregation either.

Ref watch

The Irish manager had referenced Chelsea's stunning Champions League final so many times this week, one wondered if he was becoming guilty of drifting into reveries. The same whistler was present tonight. His neat foul on Andrews showed he would not be taking sides here.

Match statistics

Yellow cards: Spain 2 (Xabi Alonso 54, Javi Martinez 76) Ireland 3 (Robbie Keane 36, Aiden McGeady 45, Sean St Ledger 84)

Shots on target: Spain 14 Ireland 1 Corners: Spain 7 Ireland 1

What's next?

Ireland are the first team to be knocked out. They next play Italy in their final Euro 2012 Group C encounter in Poznan on Monday (7.45 Irish time), while Spain conclude their campaign against Croatia in the earlier kick-off (5.0 Irish time) in Gdansk.


Irish Independent

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