It’s an intriguing tie at the Matmut Atlantique Stadium between Belgium and the Republic of Ireland, with the Irish putting in a fine performance in their opening game and just missing out on the three points, whilst Marc Wilmots’s side will be looking to improve on a disappointing defeat to the Italians.
Martin O’Neill’s men will feel confident of getting a positive result, especially after some murmurs of unrest emerging from the Belgium camp. Specifically, Thibaut Courtois’s criticism of the manager, whilst midfielder Radja Nainggolan was seen gesturing behind Wilmot’s back.
However, Belgium hold a lot of talent throughout their team and we think it’ll just be too much for the Irish to handle.
The facts lend themselves to this with Belgium unbeaten in the last six meetings between the two and unbeaten altogether in competitive matches.
The history books don’t bring any better news for O’Neill’s men as they haven’t won at the Euros since 1988 and have never scored more than one goal at a European Championship finals.
On a more positive note, the opening game saw Republic of Ireland notch four shots on target; their most ever at the Euros, which could bode well along with their great performance.
Both Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne missed training this week, which would be a devastating blow to Belgium.
However, they are expected to play. But things might not be as positive for striker Romelu Lukaku, whose place is at risk after a poor performance against Italy.
Jonathan Walters is the only absentee for Republic of Ireland, who flared up an Achilles injury against Sweden.
FIFA World Ranking: Belgium – 2nd; Republic of Ireland – 33rd
Previous Meeting: Belgium 2-1 Republic of Ireland (November 1997 – World Cup Qualifier)
Form: Belgium – LWDWL; Republic of Ireland – DLDDW
Key Men: Belgium – Kevin de Bruyne; Republic of Ireland – Robbie Brady
Shoot Says: Belgium 2-1 Republic of Ireland