View Photo Gallery: Europe’s soccer championship is being hosted by Poland and Ukraine between June 8 and July 1 2012.

Two goals from Fernando Torres, the Chelsea striker who has struggled with his finishing form in recent seasons, guided world champion Spain to a smooth 4-0 victory over Ireland.

The result came as no surprise as Spain was heavily favored. More interesting, perhaps, was that the Spanish powerhouse was up only 1-0 on Ireland at halftime.

Torres, who was given the starting nod ahead of Cesc Fabregas, provided that lead in the fourth minute with a goal that had many believing a blowout was in store. Torres picked up a loose ball atop the 18-yard-box after a tackle, strode to his right into the box with two touches and then blasted a shot into the upper netting for the 1-0 lead.

Spain (four points) had a number of opportunities in the next 41 minutes, but it couldn’t break through for a second goal before the halftime whistle. Just four minutes after the break, though, it found the back of the net.

This time, David Silva was given far too much time in the box. The midfielder got the ball on to his left foot in front of several Irish defenders and calmly passed it into the left side of the net to make it 2-0.

Torres completed his brace in the 70th minute when he was fed in for a breakaway and curled the ball into the right side of the net to make it 3-0. Fabregas, who was substituted in for Torres, made it 4-0 in the 83rd minute when he collected a short corner, took touches to his right and blasted a shot from close range off the far post for his second goal of the tournament.

The win puts Spain atop Group C along with Croatia, which earlier in the day drew 1-1 with Italy (two points). Ireland (zero points) is the first team eliminated from the quarterfinal round.