Euro 2012: Spanish press praise return to form

Updated: 15 June 2012 16:19 IST

Spain's press on Friday hailed the 4-0 demolition of the Republic of Ireland and crowned Fernando Torres as the new footballing hero of a nation in economic crisis.

Euro 2012: Spanish press praise return to form
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Gdansk:

Spain's press on Friday hailed the 4-0 demolition of the Republic of Ireland and crowned Fernando Torres as the new footballing hero of a nation in economic crisis.

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After criticism of coach Vicente Del Bosque for starting the first group game against Italy without a recognised striker, the papers said Torres had proven he can lead the attack.

Torres, nicknamed "El Nino" -- The Kid, came on for the last 15 minutes in Spain's 1-1 draw with Italy but started against the Irish and had scored within the first five minutes of the game.

He added a second on 70 minutes before making way for Cesc Fabregas.

"We have yet to see if Spain will win the Euro but it is clear that Torres is back," said a column in El Pais.

"'El Nino', who had a year to forget in Chelsea, scored the fastest goal for Spain in a Euro in three minutes and 22 seconds and also the third goal of the match," it added.

"The hero of Vienna, the man who gave Spain the Euro four years ago, who had more pain than glory in the World Cup in South Africa, who almost fell into an abyss in the Chelsea district, is back home for good," the paper said.

"It was even thought Del Bosque might not call him up but here he is: The Reds have a Number 9 and he's called Torres."

David Silva and Fabregas also scored in a game where Spain dominated throughout, putting constant pressure on goalkeeper Shay Given and the Irish defence.

"Top form Spain give a complete football lesson: passing, pressure, stealing the ball and effectiveness," said the top selling sports daily Marca.

"The national team crushed an innocent and clumsy Ireland with 72 percent of possession," it added. "The Irish suffered torment. They suffered from the immense technical superiority of the Spanish team."

The AS daily celebrated a return of a "champion's attitude" among the players.

"Superb performance by Spain who crushed Ireland," it added. "A draw against Croatia will be enough for La Roja to qualify for the quarter-finals."

In an opinion piece in the Barcelona-based daily Sport, Joseph Maria Casanovas said Spain played with "absolute superiority" over a powerless Ireland team.

"When Spain as a country is in a very serious financial crisis that no-one knows how will end, we still have the solace that La Roja are the only thing that works, that gives us joy."

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