Spanish media want a striker, unimpressed by England's 'draw of fear'

Being allowed to join the fun of the European Championships, and even scoring a goal in a warm-up game against South Korea, will have temporarily removed a huge sporting burden from Fernando Torres’ shoulders, but the Chelsea man will be walking like Quasimodo again, should he happen to cast an eye over the Spanish sporting press.

Although previously they have largely been supportive of the striker, with Marca even handing the forward one of their increasingly cheap, who’s-in-town-for-a-photo-op? ‘legend’ trinkets, patience is in short supply after he failed to convert any of the three golden chances which would and should have given Spain a victory over Italy, and helped forge the smoothest of passages to the next round. After all, as Andrés Iniesta noted, “we only failed to put away the opportunities we created.”

Tuesday’s AS generously gives Torres ten for his efforts against Italy, but zero points for the result, with a detailed description of the forwardl’s deterioration from his happy days at Atlético Madrid and Liverpool to his current slump for club and country. The paper notes, with a finger poke to Nando's tummy, that David Villa has 23 more goals for Spain in 12 fewer matches. In a readers' poll, 91% said they wanted a striker to be played against Ireland on Thursday, and the majority want it to be the other Fernando, Athletic’s Llorente.

Torres reacts to...well, you can guess what he's just done

The AS massive also want Alvaro Arbeloa turfed out and replaced by Juanfran, a footballer who began the season as a bit part right-wing merchant at Atlético Madrid. Mad Tomás Roncero, on the other hand, is calling for the bold tactical idea of “23 Nadals”.

Marca are not yet ready to write off their most recent award winner, and have published nine reasons to be positive for their national team’s future in Euro 2012, even though Spain’s situation in the group is perfectly acceptable. Some of those reasons include the useful: experience, alternatives, talent - and less so, considering what happened to Barcelona against Chelsea: possession. In the inside pages, Enrique Ortega offers more helpful advice to Vicente Del Bosque, in adding to the calls to play a forward on Thursday. “To play like Barcelona, you have to have Messi,” opines the columnist.

Both papers also find time to have a poke at England, a team more or less described on Spanish TV channel, Cuatro, as something akin to an Eastern Europe outfit with the odd player who turns out for AC Milan - organised and capable of danger from time to time. However, it doesn’t mean that anyone actually enjoyed the encounter against France, with AS describing it as “a draw of fear”. Marca noted that England had “no desire of beating France” and wrote that the game “could have been two teams between 100 and 200 in the rankings battling it out.” 

It seems that no matter what problems Spain are supposedly having, there are at least two countries in a worse situation according to some looking on from afar.