Fernando Torres' Greatest International Moments for Spain
He is often lampooned for his poor club form (at least since 2009-10—the last season in which he scored at least 10 Premier League goals), but Fernando Torres has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, no shortage of memorable moments for Spain.
A senior international since the age of 20, the Chelsea forward has scored 37 goals for his country in 107 appearances, and in addition to the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in both 2008 and 2012, he has earned silverware at various underage levels.
The following slideshow will review Torres' greatest international moments for Spain.
17. 2001 UEFA European U-16 Championship
Fernando Torres first donned La Roja of Spain in 2000 as an U-15. The next year, he played his first international tournament for his country after being named to Juan Santisteban's U-16 side for the 2001 European Championship. He scored in each of the tournament's knockout matches, as well as the final against France, and won the Golden Boot as Spain lifted the trophy.
16. 2002 UEFA European U-19 Championship
Torres starred in the 2002 European U-19 Championship as an 18-year-old. Once again, he finished as the top goalscorer, and once again, he scored in the final—against Germany in a 1-0 win. Scoring in major international finals would become a theme throughout the striker's career.
15. Hat-Trick vs. New Zealand, 2009 Confederations Cup
Spain brought a 32-match unbeaten streak into the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa and kicked off the tournament with a 5-0 trouncing of New Zealand. Torres scored the game's first three goals (his 20th, 21st and 22nd for La Roja), and Cesc Fabregas and David Villa also found the back of the net against the All Whites.
14. Senior Debut, 2003
Having established himself as his country's most promising striker at the underage levels, Torres was handed his senior debut by then-manager Inaki Saenz in September 2003 against Portugal. La Roja won the friendly encounter in Guimaraes, with Joseba Etxeberria, Joaquin and Diego Tristan scoring in the 3-0 victory.
13. First Senior Goal, 2004
Torres' first senior goal came seven months after his debut—in an April friendly against Italy in Genoa. It was the opener in the 52nd minute, but just three minutes later, Christian Vieri equalised for the Azzurri as the two sides went on to draw 1-1. Two months later, Torres was named in Spain's Euro 2004 squad.
12. Boots and Shoes
Torres is a decorated international player, not only in winner's medals but individual awards as well. In addition to being named top goalscorer and best player at the U-16 and U-19 European Championships, he has also claimed Team of the Tournament honours at Euro 2008, the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup, as well as the 2009 Confederations Cup Silver Shoe and Euro 2012 Golden Boot.
11. Goal vs. Croatia, 2006
Spain played World Cup tune-up matches against Russia, Egypt and Croatia ahead of the 2006 tournament in Germany. The Croatian tilt, following a draw and a win, was their final match before facing Ukraine in the Group H opener. After falling behind early in Geneva, La Roja equalised just after the hour mark through Mariano Pernia, and in second-half stoppage time, Torres cut around a pair of defenders and stroked the ball inside the near post for the winner.
10. First Hat-Trick, 2005
Torres has so far turned three hat-tricks for Spain—the first of which came in a 2006 World Cup qualifier away to San Marino. Antonio Lopez and Sergio Ramos (twice) also found the back of the net in front of just over 3,000 spectators in Serravalle, but Torres did the most damage, scoring in the 10th, 78th and 88th minutes of the 6-0 win.
9. Quad vs. Tahiti, 2013
Only once has a player scored four goals in a single Confederations Cup match, and it happened during a 2013 encounter between Spain and Tahiti at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Torres notched his tallies in the 5th, 33rd, 57th and 78th minutes, and David Villa (hat-trick), David Silva (brace) and Juan Mata also scored in La Roja's 10-0 win.
8. Goal vs. Sweden, 2008
Spain and Sweden had each won their Euro 2008 openers, which meant their June 14 showdown in Innsbruck would have significant implications in the Group D table. Torres opened the scoring after just a quarter-hour, and after Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised shortly before the break, it fell to David Villa to notch the winner in second-half stoppage time.
7. 100th Cap, 2012
Torres won his 100th cap (only seven other players have hit the mark for Spain) in a September 2012 friendly against Saudi Arabia. He didn't score in the match, but La Roja prevailed 5-0 in Pontevedra.
6. Brace vs. Belgium, 2005
Torres scored eight goals in 12 matches for Spain in 2005—his best-ever year for La Roja. Two of his most memorable tallies from that campaign came in a World Cup qualifier against Belgium in Brussels. The striker scored in quick succession just prior to the hour mark, as his side went on to win 2-0 and seal a place in the 2006 World Cup qualification play-offs.
5. Brace vs. Republic of Ireland, 2012
Spain claimed an important three points during the Euro 2012 group stage after beating Ireland 4-0 in Gdansk. Torres opened the scoring after muscling Richard Dunne off the ball and smashing it into the top corner, and he completed his brace in the 70th minute when he sprung the offside trap and beat Shay Given with a clean finish.
4. Brace vs. Tunisia, 2006
Spain breezed through the group stage at the 2006 World Cup, beating Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia by a combined 8-1. The one goal they conceded came after just eight minutes against Tunisia in Stuttgart, but after Raul's equaliser, Torres struck twice to seal the win and the three points.
3. Euro 2012 Final
Torres continued his streak of scoring in major international finals when he found the back of the net against Italy in the Euro 2012 decider. Initially a substitute in Vienna, he replaced Cesc Fabregas for the final quarter-hour and put Spain 3-0 up in the 84th minute after accepting the ball from Xavi Hernandez. Four minutes later, he cut the ball back to Juan Mata, who rounded out the scoring in the 4-0 win.
2. Euro 2008 Final
With David Villa sidelined through injury, it fell to Torres to lead the line on his own in the Euro 2008 final against Germany. He did not disappoint. Sprinting through two defenders in an attempt to latch onto a through ball, he proceeded to chip Jens Lehmann for what proved to be the only goal of the game.
1. 2010 World Cup Final
Torres began the 2010 World Cup final on the bench, and he wasn't introduced until the 106th minute when he replaced David Villa. It turned out to be a vital change for manager Vicente del Bosque. Just 10 minutes after coming on, the striker was involved in the chain of passes that led to Andres Iniesta's tournament-winning goal.