Silva’s moment of magic stuns Ireland

Controlling the ball 12 yards out, David Silva was faced with a

seemingly impenetrable wall of Ireland defenders blocking his route

to goal.

What the Spain playmaker produced was a magical finish that is

likely to go down as one of the best at this year’s European


With expert precision, Silva placed the ball past one defender,

through the legs of two others, Sean St. Ledger and Richard Dunne,

and into the bottom corner of the net past goalkeeper Shay Given’s

despairing dive. It was Spain’s crucial second goal in a 4-0 win

that lifted the team to the top of Group C.

Whether he meant both ”nutmegs” – the art of kicking the ball

through the legs of an opposing player – is open to question.

”I was lucky to score it,” Silva said, with modesty and

humility that is typical of the current crop of Spain players.

Silva, however, has already demonstrated his sublime touch this

tournament by unlocking Italy’s defense with a deft flick to set up

Cesc Fabregas’ equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Italy on Sunday.

His finish against Ireland brought back memories of the

improvised goal scored by Ronaldinho for Barcelona against Chelsea

in a Champions League match in 2005.

Surrounded by four Chelsea defenders at the edge of the area,

the Brazil forward shimmied before poking a shot with the outside

of his foot into the top corner, a goal recently described by

refereeing great Pierluigi Collina as the best he’d ever seen.

Silva also created time and space for himself with a shimmy.

”I had the defender in front of me,” Silva said, ”and I

dummied and it turned out well in the end.”