Following the draw between Croatia and Italy, Ireland went into this game knowing that a defeat to the Spaniards would condemn them to an early exit from the tournament, while Vicente Del Bosque's were looking to claim the lead in Group C.
Spain wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game and set to work picking apart Ireland's defence right from the start. They were rewarded in the fourth minute when Torres, who received much criticism for his profligacy in the opening match, pounced on a loose ball in the Irish penalty box, burst past Stephen Ward and smashed the ball into the top of the net leaving Shay Given grasping at air.
The Spanish flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half and doubled their lead in the 49th minute through David Silva, who demonstrated excellent control of the ball in the box and tricked two Irish defenders before placing his spot in the corner of the net.
Torres got his second goal, and Spain's third in the 70th minute, when good pressure by Iniesta and Silva in the middle of the park cause Giovanni Trapattoni's charges to lose the ball and Silva expertly threaded a sublime through ball for Torres who passed his shot coolly into the back of the net.
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas added the icing on the cake for Spain with a fourth in the 83rd minute, collecting the ball in the penalty box following a short corner and blasting the ball past Given from a tight angle.
Here, ESPNSTAR.com takes a look at the players that took to the field at the Arena Gdansk.
Iker Casillas - 6
Casillas was hardly threatened by the Irish as his troops expectedly dominated the game. However, Ireland still managed to threaten his goal with a few shots from range and the Real Madrid stopper made several smart saves to preserve a clean sheet for the La Roja.
Alvaro Arbeloa - 6.5
Arbeloa was hardly threatened and provided his side with some much needed width and helped to stretch the Irish defence with his overlapping runs down the right flank. However his final ball was more often than not very poor and he was unable to make the most of the space afforded to him.
Gerard Piqué - 6.5
The fact that the Barcelona centre-back saw more action in the Irish penalty box than his own will be able to tell you how little defensive work he had to do. Despite that, Pique still had to be alert to block the Irish's long-range attempts on goal. It was an average performance overall for a player who has yet to be really tested in this tournament.
Sergio Ramos - 6.5
Ramos, like his defensive partner, had precious little to do in his own half. The Real Madrid defender seemed content to sit back and let Pique go forward, which meant his contribution to the game was minute. However, he read the game well, cutting out a few promising Irish attacks and provided a calm and cool presence at the back.
Jordi Alba - 6.5
Alba was unable to offer much for the dominant Spanish and despite his many overlapping runs down the left flank, his midfielders often failed to find him as the play was often concentrated through the centre. He was steady when called on to do his defensive duties and did well to nullify Duff in the second half.
Sergio Busquets - 6.5
Busquets, playing in the anchorman role, had very little defending to do but managed to make several crucial interceptions in the middle of the park to break down the Irish attacks on several occasions.
Xavi Hernandez - 7.5
Xavi was once again the metronomic figure for the Spanish team, connecting the defence to the midfield and the midfield to the attack. He may not have had an assist or a goal to his name but his contribution and influence on the team cannot be understated.
Xabi Alonso (64' Off) - 6.5
Alonso had another quiet game for the Spanish. He was never really needed in the game, given how Xavi and Iniesta were controlling the game for the Spanish but did manage to fire off a few threatening long-range shots.
David Silva - 9
Despite Silva's obvious technical quality and passing ability, he seemed to be on a different wavelength with his Spanish teammates and often lost possession for Spain in an advanced position with misplaced passes in the first half. However, he did manage to get on the scoresheet with a goal of sheer class, controlling Given's parry from Iniesta's shot well, calmly deceiving two Irish defenders with a body feint and side-footing the ball into side of Given's net. The goal seemed to give Silva confidence and the Manchester City talisman started to have more of an influence for Spain. He turned provider for Spain's next two goals, first threading a beautiful through ball for Torres to score and then drilling in an accurate pass from the corner for Fabregas.
Andres Iniesta (80' Off) - 8
Iniesta was a constant threat throughout the match and was often the focal point of all of Spain's attacks. He had the opposition defence running scared when he ran at them and it was near impossible for the Irish to cleanly win the ball from him. He played a crucial part in his side's second goal, volleying in a fierce shot which Given could only parry for Silva to fire home.
Fernando Torres (72' Off) - 8.5
The question on everyone's lips was whether or not Torres deserved to be starting the game ahead of Fernando Llorente. Nonetheless, the Chelsea striker answered his detractors in style, scoring the opening goal within four minutes. He pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box and burst past Ward before blasting it into the top of the net. Torres then scored his second after Silva expertly played him through and despite some initial hesitation from the Chelsea striker, he made no mistake with his strike and sent a clinical strike past Given.
Javi Martinez (64' On) - 6
The highly rated Martinez was unable to make the most of the opportunity to shine for Spain as he struggled to really get into the game and make an impact. In addition, he managed to, in his short time on the pitch, pick up a yellow card for a nasty challenge on Whelan.
Cesc Fabregas (72' On) - 7
Fabregas came on in the last quarter of the game and played his role as an impact substitute by scoring Spain's fourth with an empathic finish. He collected Silva's short corner, darted past one defender and finished with aplomb from a tight angle on the right.
Santi Cazorla (80' On) - (N/A)
Republic Of Ireland
Shay Given - 6.5
Given had his defence to thank for protecting him in the first half but was helpless in the second half as Spain clicked into gear and showcased their quality finishing. However, he kept the scoreline relatively respectable with numerous good saves, including what was probably the save of the tournament thus far; a fantastic one-handed reflex stop to keep out Xavi's volley in the 55th minute.
John O'Shea - 5
O'Shea was given a torrid time by Iniesta and often failed to track the Spanish playmaker. The Sunderland defender allowed his direct opponent too much time and space on the ball and was guilty of losing possession in his own half which invited unnecessary pressure on his side.
Sean St Ledger - 6
St Ledger had a busy night and tried his best to crowd out the Spanish together with his defenders. He may have been very good in the air and won several aerial duels but was often beaten for pace by Torres and Iniesta.
Richard Dunne - 7
Dunne did his best to stem the near-unstoppable Spanish tide of attacks, making a few well-timed challenges and putting his body in the line of Spanish fire to block the many shots being peppered at the Irish goal. He was immense in the first half but the quality of Spain eventually told in the second half. He was let down by his teammates, especially Ward, although his heroic defending allows him to be one of the few Irish players who can walk out of this game with his chin up.
Stephen Ward - 2
The Wolves defender had an atrocious game and was at fault for three of the four Spanish goals. He allowed Torres to go past him too easily for Spain's first goal, got tricked by Silva for Spain's second and he lost the ball in the middle of the field under pressure which gifted Silva the ball who released it to Torres for Spain's third. He looked out of his depth and Trapattoni has no right to be happy with Ward's display.
Damien Duff - 6
Duff did very well in the first half and led most of Ireland's counter-attacks. He was a danger running at defenders and helped his team keep possession very well. Despite being a primarily attacking player, he could also be often found in his own penalty box working hard to defend for the team. Overall a good team performance by the Fulham man, even though his influence for the Irish waned in the second half.
Keith Andrews - 6
Andrews showed some attacking intent at the start of the game and tested Casillas with a stinging drive from range. He tried to make up for his lack of technical quality with sheer hard work and was a constant thorn in the Spanish side, tracking back and breaking up their play with much relish. However, he was not given enough support by his midfield partner Whelan and was overrun by the Spanish midfield.
Glenn Whelan (80' Off) - 4.5
Whelan was completely out of his depth in this game as the Spanish trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Silva passed rings around him. He offered too little support to his midfield partner Andrews and was found out of position on many occasions.
Aiden McGeady - 6
McGeady may be one of the few Irish players who have good technical ability but he was guilty of being over-elaborate in his play and was unable to do any damage to the Spanish defence.
Simon Cox (45' Off) - 4
Cox was virtually anonymous in this game apart from a good shot in the opening period of the game which tested Casillas. He was an ineffective attacking force for the Irish and it was no surprise that Trappatoni took him off at half-time.
Robbie Keane - 6
Keane toiled manfully upfront on his own but demonstrated the spirit and work ethic of a captain. He could often be seen tracking back and harassing the Spanish players. However, Keane was often starved of service and was unable to offer much in the way of an attacking threat.
Jonathan Walters (45' On) - 5
Substituted for the ineffectual Simon Cox, Walters was expected to give an added physical presence for the Irish upfront. However, Walters seemed more intent on using his physicality for the wrong reasons and the only things he did of note was to concede several unnecessary fouls by barging into the Spanish players.
Paul Green (80' On) - (N/A)