Belgium recovered from the setback of their opening-game defeat by Italy to comfortably beat Republic of Ireland 3-0 in Bordeaux.

Date: June 18, 2016

Result: Belgium 3 Rep Ireland 0

Scorers:

Belgium: R Lukaku 48, 70. Witsel 62

Rep Ireland: none

Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

Match overview:

Belgium recovered from the setback of opening-game defeat by Italy to comfortably beat Republic of Ireland 3-0 in Bordeaux. Coach Marc Wilmots made a number of changes to his starting line-up and his players responded with the sort of display that many believed they were always capable of. The Irish offered little in attack and conceded goals on the counter-attack to  Romelu Lukaku (two) and Axel Witsel.

Belgium’s win also confirmed Italy as the winners of Group E.

Key moment:

Ireland had legitimate claims for a penalty when Toby Alderweireld’s high foot clattered Shane Long’s head in the Belgian penalty area. But the claims were ignored and Belgium broke away swiftly through Kevin De Bruyne, who supplied Romelu Lukaku for the opening goal.

Once Belgium had made the breakthrough, Ireland had no choice but to be more forward thinking and the Belgians were able to counter-attack for further goals.

Man of the match:

Kevin De Bruyne was at the heart of the Belgian attack, playing a key role in the counter-attacks that led to Belgium’s goals.

Matter of fact:

Romelu Lukaku became the first Belgian player to score twice in a tournament match since Marc Wilmots himself in 1998, against Mexico. Belgium equalled their biggest win at a major tournament, a 3-0 victory over El Salvador in 1970

Talking point:

It was a much better performance by Belgium than against Italy, but then Republic of Ireland made it easy for them by defending deep. The Irish held out for the first half but an early break in the second half saw Kevin De Bruyne feed Romelu Lukaku for the opening goal.

Ireland striker Shane Long was left isolated by his team’s defensive approach, and as they chased the game they left gaps which Belgium were able to exploit. Axel Witsel was unchecked as he ran into the area to scored Belgium’s second, while Eden Hazard ran from his own half to set up Lukaku for Belgium’s third

 

Stats:

Goal attempts

Belgium: 18

Rep Ireland: 11

Attempts on target

Belgium: 7

Rep Ireland: 2

Corners

Belgium: 5

Rep Ireland: 4

Line-ups:

Belgium:

01 Thibaut Courtois

02 Toby Alderweireld

03 Thomas Vermaelen

05 Jan Vertonghen

06 Axel Witsel

07 Kevin De Bruyne

09 Romelu Lukaku (20 Christian Benteke 82)

10 Eden Hazard

11 Yannick Carrasco (14 Dries Martens 64)

16 Thomas Meunier

19 Mousa Dembele (04 Radja Nainggolan 57)

Starting formation: 4-2-3-1

Courtois – Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Meunier – Witsel, Dembele –  Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard – R Lukaku

Rep Ireland:

23 Darren Randolph

02 Seamus Coleman

03 Ciaran Clark

04 John O’Shea

06 Glenn Whelan

08 James McCarthy (11 James McClean 62)

09 Shane Long (10 Robbie Keane 78)

13 Jeff Hendrick

17 Stephen Ward

19 Robbie Brady

20 Wes Hoolahan (07 Aidan McGeady 71)

Starting formation: 4-2-3-1

Randolph – Coleman, O’Shea, Clark, Ward – Whelan, McCarthy – Hendrick, Hoolahan, Brady – Long.

Yellow cards:

Belgium: Vermaelen 49

Rep Ireland: Hendrick 42

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Tur)

Attendance: 39,493