LAST NIGHT’S ENCOUNTER between Ireland and Spain was not pretty for supporters of the former side, and today’s international newspapers reflected this.
The Guardian was suitably harsh in emphasising Spain’s level of dominance:
“Ireland play better in adversity? Here, there was only adversity. From the very start, when Torres flashed home his first, the outcome was never in doubt. The doggedness that Trapattoni has instilled served to bring this cherished qualification but it could never work the required miracle to escape a punishing Group C.”
The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, delivered the type of sentiments that Roy Keane would doubtless disapprove of.
“These fans will be missed. Unlike their team, who were barely noticed.”
AS went further, suggesting that the Irish team “deserve little analysis” given their limited ability.
They singled out Richard Dunne, pointing to his “clumsiness and helplessness” in helping rather than hindering Spain’s progress.
Perhaps exaggerating a tad, Croatian site 24sata claimed Spain could have secured a “double-digit’ victory, but their players instead decided on a “modest” 4-0 scoreline.
Their reporter added that Ireland had “no concentration” in the final third, and gave Iker Casillas virtually nothing to do throughout the entire match.
Meanwhile, Marca was full of praise for the Irish fans, with their website including an article with the title: “The Irish really know how to lose.” The paper added:
“The Irish fans filled three-quarters of Gdansk Arena in the loss to Spain was taken with sportsmanship 4-0. They left the stadium singing as if nothing had happened and they embraced with the Spanish fans, who appreciated the gesture in an atmosphere of brotherhood that was exemplary after the riots in Poland-Russia.”
There is an understandable extra level of focus on Giovanni Trapattoni from Corriere Dello Sport, who write that Ireland were “dominated and outclassed”.
They also focus on the reaction of the Irish press, claiming they “attacked” Trap following the defeat, while putting the Irish side’s game philosophy “on trial”.
Le Monde reports that “the magnitude of the score” reflected the difference in class between the two sides.
They added that Spain “reaffirmed their status as tournament favourites” following their below-par opening display against Italy.
Finally, Bild also praise the Irish fans, describing their singing at the end of the match as a “spine-tingling moment,” and concluding that “Ireland has the worst team – but by far the best fans!”