World and European champions Spain will take on the Republic of Ireland on Thursday in Group C's final second round of games. Ireland will be seen as the group's weakest side, and their devastating loss to Croatia in their first game will do nothing to banish that label – meaning Spain will be looking at this match as a must win. The game can be watched live on ESPN 2, as well as through online live streaming (details below).
Ireland could quickly turn into the whipping boys of Group C, after suffering a morale-sapping loss to Croatia in their opening game. Things will not get any easier, and Spain are probably the worst team you'd want to face coming off from such a defeat, and needing a result to stay in the competition.
However, Spain have not exactly begun the tournament in fantastic fashion; they labored to a draw in their opening game against Italy – a match most would have predicted Spain could have won. Another draw here today would potentially put them in a deadly position; needing to win against Croatia in their final game to guarantee their path to the quarter finals.
It has been a decade since the Republic of Ireland last qualified for a major tournament, and in that 2002 World Cup their hopes were ended by Spain.
Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, was a 21-year-old in that tournament, and was the main man responsible for knocking the Irish out. He saved a penalty in normal time as well as during the penalty shoot out.
A loss today will see Ireland become the first team to be eliminated from the Euro 2012 tournament, and they will be doing all they can to cause an upset against the world champions.
Spain vs. Ireland will kick off at 2.45 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN 2, or watched online through live stream on ESPN 3 by clicking HERE.