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
Belgium: R Lukaku 48, 70. Witsel 62
Rep Ireland: none
Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
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.
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
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
Rep Ireland: 11
Attempts on target
Rep Ireland: 2
Rep Ireland: 4
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
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.
Belgium: Vermaelen 49
Rep Ireland: Hendrick 42
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Tur)