Belgium go into their second Euro 2016 group game knowing that they are going to have to perform a lot better not only to live up to the hype of one of the tournament favourites but also if they are to actually get off the mark after losing to Italy on Monday night
With Italy securing qualification thanks to their win yesterday over Sweden it leaves these two sides fighting over second place with the possible safety net of one of the 4 best 3rd placed nations to see them through to the Round of 16
Belgium looked like a team of starts on Monday but with no real team cohesion while the Republic Of Ireland were the exact opposite. Martin O’Neill’s side will look at their opener against Sweden and feel that they should really have come away from that game with a win
They had the bulk of the early chances in the first half but failed to convert any of them, going as close as hitting the woodwork but soon after the break they went ahead thanks to Wes Hoolahan’s stunning volley but that is where the attacking industry stopped. Once going in front they let Sweden get back into the game and there was a massive slice of misfortune with Ciaran Clark heading into his own net
At this level though you have to take the chances that are presented to you and how costly could those two dropped points prove to be once Martin O’Neill’s side finish their group stage fixtures with a matchup against Italy next week.
If they can play as they did in the first 45 minutes against Sweden then they have every chance of causing the Belgian’s some trouble. Although Manager Marc Wilmots may end up doing the most damage with his head scratching team selections
No Mousa Dembele on Monday as they fell to the Italians while he also opted not to pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld at the back to mimic their fantastic partnership at Centre Back for Tottenham. Vertonghen once again having to make do with playing at Left Back
Belgium will also have to be not so wasteful themselves in front of goal. Both Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi were guilty of missing chances to level the score against Italy. Had one of them taking their opportunity they could have at least came away with a point
Belgium can’t afford another false start to their tournament so I would imagine that they will look to start quickly and take the game to Ireland. I’ll go with a Belgium win this time around although if they don’t I would imagine a lot of punters will be cursing their pre-tournament betting selections. Belgian to win but both teams to score.