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Belgium vs Republic Of Ireland a few quick thoughts

  • After an unimpressive opening game on Monday night, Belgium showed why they are for many tournament favourites as they strolled past the Republic Of Ireland yesterday afternoon
  • Belgian Manager Marc Wilmots made changes in terms of personnel and tactics with Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele starting being one of 5 changes from the side that lost to Italy
  • It’s fair to say that those changes definitely paid off as they were much better side this time around
  • It was unfortunate for the Republic that Belgium were such a wounded animal after their defeat to Italy as figures such as Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne were looking up for this right from the start
  • From those two especially it was a marked improvement in terms of performance and they showed what they really are capable of against Martin O’Neill’s side
  • In the first 45 minutes though the boys in green were resolute as they withstood the waves of Belgian pressure
  • But that side they never really threatened Thibaut Courtois goal either
  • Belgium started the second half brightly and they got the rewards just three minutes after the restart
  • Ireland may have had calls for a penalty at one end but the ball broke with lightning speed and it fell to the feet of Lukaku who expertly bent his shot past Randolph into the bottom corner of the net to put the Belgians ahead
  • On the hour it was to go from bad to worse for the Republic as Axel Witsel ghosted in with a header from the edge of the box to double Belguim’s advantage
  • With Ireland still failing to have a shot on target at Courtois that header from Witsel all but sealed the game with half hour still left to play
  • Shane Long was cutting an isolated figure up front as opportunistic long balls were well dealt with by Toby Alderweireld
  • The impressive Dembele had to come off after rolling an ankle, manager Wilmots will be hoping that the short cameo of Tottenham’s Dembele isn’t the only football he plays in this tournament
  • And Belgian would wrap up the win in the final minute
  • Once again the ball broke at lighting speed
  • Ciaran Clark was pulled wide at made a desperate lunge to take out Kevin De Bruyne but the Manchester City player skipped past him with ease
  • He was then left with enough time and space to cut the ball back to Lukaku who duly got his second of the game and made it 3-0
  • A comfortable win for the Belgians and one that sees them move up to second in the group
  • That win may already be enough to assure qualification to the Round of 16 but a draw against Sweden would make sure of that
  • While for the Republic they now go into their final game with Italy knowing that nothing less than a win will be enough and even due to their inferior goal difference that still not may be enough for them to move into the knockout stages
  • An uphill task for the boys in green

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