Euro 2016

Torres joy at scoring return

Striker fires brace in hammering of Ireland

Fernando Torres: Believes Spain are back to their best after they beat Republic of Ireland 4-0 in Gdansk on Thursday

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Fernando Torres hailed the return of the 'old Spain' after his two goals contributed to a 4-0 hammering of Republic of Ireland in Gdansk.

Chelsea striker Torres was back in the starting line-up after being benched for the Italy game at the weekend, where coach Vicente del Bosque had controversially opted to play without any recognised strikers.

Torres wasted no time in proving a point to his manager by firing home the opening goal after just four minutes.

Manchester City midfielder David Silva stroked home the second five minutes after half-time before Torres fired in his second and Spain's third with 20 minutes left.

"We have been criticised for using this system, but now we have shown that it works. We have 23 players who play regularly for their clubs and we have lots of alternatives, we had 65 per cent possession of the ball. I don't think you can keep calm in any competition, but this result takes us forward"

Vicente del Bosque

Quotes of the week

Torres was off the pitch when Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas completed the scoring in the 83rd minute, with the convincing result sending Spain to the top of Group C and eliminating Ireland with a game to spare.

"We really were chomping at the bit ahead of this game to shake off the [1-1] draw against Italy and we saw the old Spain," said Torres.

Debate

"The debate about a No.9 will continue.

"This system worked today and worked the other day with Cesc. The good thing is Spain have many players who can fill many positions".

Coach Del Bosque once again defended the system employed for the Italy match, but did take time out to praise Torres for his goalscoring heroics.

"Torres knows how to find the spaces, it was the perfect match," said the Spain boss. "A lot of people think he could have played in the first match, but that wasn't the point.

"We have a system and we showed it works. People think it is important to have a striker and it is important for us as well, but it is more important to win.

"We have been criticised for using this system, but now we have shown that it works.

"We have 23 players who play regularly for their clubs and we have lots of alternatives, we had 65 per cent possession of the ball.

"I don't think you can keep calm in any competition, but this result takes us forward.

Dangerous situations

"We had some dangerous situations, but the team played well, we are getting stronger.

"The Irish defended very well, but we showed we are very secure with the ball, we can score and shoot and it showed in our play."

Barcelona midfielder Xavi said: "It's a great result for the confidence of the group. The boss is strengthened by it and so is El Nino [Torres] because he participated in the game and scored two goals and in general we all come out stronger."

Referring to the squad's frustration with the state of the pitch against Italy on Sunday, where they complained the grass was too long, the midfielder added: "There we had the problem of the long grass and also we were playing Italy, so it was a match between the last two world champions."

However, the 32-year-old insisted that Spain's "philosophy is not negotiable" even if the conditions are not ideal.