After managing a draw against former World Champions Italy, reigning European and World Champions Spain have found their passing style effective as they sent Ireland out of the competition with a comfortable 4-0 win.
Vicente Del Bosque surprised many by playing an all-out attacking midfield combination in their opening clash against the Azzurri. Despite being the best passing side in the world, during the first half against Italy, Spanish players found it hard to move around the midfield area, crowded by five Italians, but termed the dry and hard pitch as a 'disgrace'.
Although there were no such complains from their opponents, two of the world's best passing duo Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta took a dig at the pitch.
A strikerless Spanish side failed to break the Italian back-line but make-shift forward Cesc Fabregas scored the equaliser after going down to Antonio Di Natale's opening goal.
Chelsea striker Fernendo Torres couldn't have asked for a better start after being included in the line-up against the Irish. It took El Nino just four minutes to strike the opener after Richard Dunne failed to clear a tackle.
The game seemed over when David Silva's calm and composed finish through three Irish defenders, gave Spain a two-goal advantage in a one-sided game.
Spain bombarded the Irish goalkeeper Shay Given with a total of 26 goal attempts out of which 20 found the target, the former Manchester City keeper made brilliant saves to avoid a miserable loss.
Pass maestros Xavi and Xabi Alonso dictated the flow of the game in midfield. Short or through passes, the men in Red comfortably moved their way forward with the help of Silva and Iniesta on either flanks. Right-back Alvaro Arbeloa exploited the gaps created by defenders while trying to cover Silva cutting inside.
With almost 800 passes and 66% ball percentage, Ireland were chasing shadows in their own half and whenever the Irish players got hold off the ball, each player in Red pressed to dispossess the opposition and control the flow of the game.
The 'tika taka' style, usually played by FC Barcelona, is being followed by the national side which also include players from rival club Real Madrid. Recent reports suggested that players from both clubs couldn't get along each other but there was no such instances during their previous two games.
Ireland were left with only one choice - counter attack, but failed get past Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos. The Boys in Green' managed only two shots on target with a total of six goal attempts.
Irish fightback were dashed after Torres scored his second and Spain's third with a tight-angled finish. Opening match goal-scorer Fabregas replaced the former Liverpool striker with 16 minutes to play. The Irish fans were left devasted when the Barcelona forward smashed a shot through Given and Richard Dunne to make it four in the 80th minute. The Irish suffered their worst defeat in four years under Giovanni Trappattoni.
Spain, who topped Group C after Italy drew against Croatia, face a bigger challenge in their final Group match against the Croats. Both sides will progress to the knockout stages provided that Italy draw against the Irish.