Belgium vs Ireland – UEFA Euro 2016 – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

Netherlands vs Belgium

Belgium takes on Republic of Ireland in their second Group E fixture of the UEFA Euro 2016 at Stade de Bordeaux. Anything but a win could be ominous for Marc Wilmot’s side as they lost the first game to Italy by a 2-0 scoreline while Republic of Ireland managed a 1-1 draw against Sweden.

With Italy winning 1-0 against Sweden in their second game, the Group E is placed precariously with Sweden and Ireland on one points, Belgium on none and Italy at the top (and certain to qualify for the knock-outs) with six points.

The pre-tournament favorites whose golden generation has been touted to put up impressive displays failed spectacularly in their opening game when they were undone by Antonio Conte’s tactical set-up.

Martin O’ Neil’s Republic of Ireland will focus on defensive solidarity to keep the creative playmakers in the Belgian side away from the goalmouth.

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Team News

Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are doubtful for the game after both the attacking midfielders picked up injuries against Italy. Although both trained ahead of tomorrow’s fixture, it is yet to be seen whether Wilmots will risk both his star players.

Jonathan Walters is Ireland’s only injury concern.

Belgium Possible Starting Lineup: Thibaut Courtois, Laurent Ciman, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermalaen, Jan Vertonghen, Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, Yannick Carrasco, Romelu Lukaku.

Republic of Ireland Possible Starting Lineup: Darren Randolph, Seamus Coleman, John O’Shea, Ciaran Clark, Robbie Brady, James McArthy, Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan, Robbie Keane, Shane Long.

Thoughts From Both Camps

“Ireland have done well. Their style of play can cause a lot of problems and I think is difficult for any rival. The physical power of the Irish players and their results in qualifying show the level of the team has risen a lot. They’re very dangerous — they are the silent outsider in this group. We have to beware. They have a lot of unity and that’s a big virtue in the team.”

– Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium.

“We know we need to win one of our two remaining games, that’s a given.”

– James McClean, Republic of Ireland.

Contributor’s Pick

According to Head-2-Head statistics, Ireland have not beaten Belgium in any of their last six encounters. In fact, the last time Ireland triumphed over Belgium dates back to 1966. Belgium have also never lost a competitive game against Ireland with two wins and five draws till date.

It should be a closely contested affair but Belgium are likely to win 2-1.

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