Torres inspires Spain, Italy held

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Updated: June 15, 2012

Defending champions Spain are on course for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after their 4-0 thrashing of Ireland on Thursday put them top of Group C with the Irish bowing out.

Ireland struggled constantly to cope with the torrent of Spanish attacks as Chelsea’s Fernando Torres proved he is back to his best with two clinically-taken goals.

Having decided the Euro 2008 final with the winning goal against Germany, Torres netted either side of Manchester City’s David Silva second-half strike before his replacement Cesc Fabregas added the fourth seven minutes from time.

Croatia held Italy to a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2012 Group C clash at the Municipal Stadium here on Thursday to boost their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Italy totally dominated the first period and went in at the break a goal to the good through a sumptuous Andrea Pirlo free-kick. But a defensive error allowed Mario Mandzukic to equalise in the final 20 minutes and keep Croatia at the top of the group on four points.