Spain took a chance and started a plucky 28-year-old striker named Fernando Torres in their second Euro 2012 Group C match against Ireland. This was a surprising decision considering his inability to finish several golden scoring chances when he played the final 25 minutes of Spain's 1-1 draw against Italy -- something he's rumored to have done on one or two occasions over the previous year and half for club and country. But the man who only appeared in three of Spain's Euro 12 qualifiers, only required four minutes to score against Ireland and added a second in the 70th minute of Spain's 4-0 win.
Little known and never joked about, Torres joined Premier League club Chelsea, (who finished sixth last season) from Liverpool (8th) in 2011 for the very modest, British record transfer fee of £50 million. Upon his arrival, he was largely ignored by the fans and press, who wanted to give him every chance to adjust to his new club with as little extra pressure as possible. At several points near the beginning and end of this past season, Torres scored a few goals which were not over scrutinized and were treated as a pure bonus from a player who already paid off the meager investment made in him. Chelsea went on to win the Champions League for the first time in the club's history, powered by the artificially increased blondness of Torres' hair.
At the international level, Spain did not need Torres to score as they won the 201o World Cup, so he didn't. In fact, they haven't needed him to score a goal in a competitive (read: non-friendly) match since a game against mighty Lichtenstein in September of 2010, so being the kind person that he is, Fernando opted to reserve his talents.
Against Ireland, he spit out some of that repressed skill, taking the ball for his own in the box and scoring from a severe angle before some fans even found their seats, then again off a one v one against Ireland keeper Shay Given in which he had plenty of time to over think the opportunity (like, say, Cristiano Ronaldo) and goof it up. But he didn't, and everyone knew he wouldn't. This is Fernando Torres.