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The shot-stopper was forced to concede that the Boys in Green were outclassed by La Roja but is hopeful of getting a result against Italy to end the tournament on a positive

 Ash Sharma
 In Gdansk
 

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has admitted that his side were simply no match for world and European champions Spain, who sent Giovanni Trapattoni's men out of Euro 2012 following a 4-0 win in Group C on Thursday evening.

It only took four minutes for Fernando Torres to open the scoring for Vicente del Bosque's side and further goals from David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and a second from the Chelsea striker sealed Ireland's fate while sending Spain to the top of the group.

Boys in Green keeper Given acknowledged their opponents' superiority on the night, and confessed that he was hapless to stop the floodgates from opening.

"Spain are a fantastic team and they deserved to win. They just ripped us apart on a number of occasions," Given told reporters after the game.

"The ball was past me before I got my arms up. In fact I think it was in the net before I could even move," Given reflected when asked about Torres' opener.

"With their passing and movement they just have so much time and space. That's with no disrespect to our team. It's just that they're a class above us."

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Ireland's game plan had been to keep things tight and frustrate their opponents. But once again conceding an early goal meant they were chasing the game. And Given feels that even though they wee trailing by just one at the interval, the Spaniards raced clear in the second period.

"Spain just went up a notch after the break and carved us open on a number of occasions. No matter what your game is it doesn't always work against them.

"For our part, we would love to win against the Italians. But they've drawn against the world champions so we all know their quality. We know it's going to be tough but we would love to give our fans something to cheer about.

"We had terrific support and we couldn't even give them one goal to cheer [against Spain]. You are really proud to be Irish when you see the support that they give us. So we'd love to have a bit of pride and give our fans something to go home with."

Given also expressed his desire to see Damien Duff, who was substituted against Spain in the 76th minute, don the Irish shirt one last time before he quits the international arena.

"Damien has been a great servant to Ireland and I am sure he will play in that [against Italy] game next week."

Given is part of the old brigade at Ireland and accepts there is a gap between teams like Ireland and Spain. The veteran keeper feels that the coaching staff will have a better idea of where the team are after they have played all their group matches.

"It's been a tough lesson for us this match and the one against Croatia. I think the European Championship is the elite tournament as it has the elite teams and the elite players. In a World Cup you always get a team in the group stages like a Saudi Arabia or a New Zealand with no disrespect to them, that you fancy beating," Given continued.

"But in these championships its the best of the best and that is really tough."


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