Two goals by Fernando Torres helped Spain secure an easy 4-0 win over Ireland in Group C on Thursday that kept the holders on course and made the Irish the first team to have their Euro 2012 quarter-final hopes ended.

David Silva and substitute Cesc Fabregas were also on the scoresheet after Torres, starting for the first time in the tournament, punished hesitant defending by Richard Dunne to open the scoring in the fourth minute.

Spain controlled the match with their trademark precise passing and doubled their lead four minutes into the second half when Silva latched on to a poor punch by Irish keeper Shay Given to score past three defenders into the corner.

Torres netted again when he broke clear to tuck home Spain's third goal 20 minutes from time before Fabregas lashed the ball home from a tight angle off the far post in the 83rd minute.

The world champions have four points, alongside Croatia, who drew 1-1 with Italy in the day's earlier game in the group. The Italians have two points with Ireland, who looked desperately outclassed on Thursday, eliminated after two defeats.

(Writing by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)