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Ireland v Belgium - Euro 2016
Ireland played the second match of their Euro 2016 finals campaign against Belgium in the Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux on Saturday 18 June 2016.
The Irish team manager, Martin O’Neill, made just one change to the team that played against Sweden. Irish talisman Jon Walters picked up an injury against the Swedes and this opened the way for Stephen Ward to come in at full back.
It didn’t take long of the gulf in class between Ireland and the number two ranked team in the World to become apparent. The Belgians forced the Irish into a rearguard action. Following a disappointing display in the first group match De Bruyne began very brightly for Belgium.
A solid defensive display got Ireland to half-time without conceding a goal but also having not really threatened the Belgian goal.
A couple of minutes into the second half and following an appalling double tackle on Shane Long, that should have led to a penalty, Belgium broke clear. Sweeping up to the other end of the pitch de Bruyne evaded McCarthy’s challenge to race clear. Lukaku on the inside picked up the pass, opened his body and guided a low left-footer into the Irish net.
Fifteen minutes later Ireland gambled on pushing higher and they were caught on the break again. Meunier got in a cross as McCarthy lost Witsel’s run and the midfielder planted a header past Darren Randolph. The keeper got a hand to it but the header was too strong.
In the 71st minute James McClean went down a cul-de-sac on the left side when he could have recycled the ball. Hazard was played through on the wide right, Clark gambled and dived in but missed the tackle. The Chelsea man virtually strolled into the Irish box and squared the ball for Lukaku and he scored his second goal of the game.
A 3-0 defeat was very
damaging for Ireland’s chances of progressing beyond the group stages. Put
simply Ireland needed to beat Italy in the final Group E match or else it
would be an early flight home for the Irish team and their fans.
Euro 2016 - Republic of Ireland V Belgium Statistics
Irish & Belgian Teams
Republic of Ireland TeamS
Date: 18 June 2016. Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France. Attendance: 39,493. Referee: Cüneyt Çakır.
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