On June 18th in the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux the Republic of Ireland will play there second Euro 2016 group game against the second ranked team in the FIFA rankings Belgium.
Although team line-ups are not known at this time we do know what jerseys the Irish side will wear for each of their fixtures, and against Belgium they will be in the new white away jersey.
Belgium will be a tough team for anyone to overcome with stellar players like Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), and Romelu Lukaku (Everton). Without a doubt though Belgium aren’t as strong as they could be because they will be missing their captain, and defensive anchor, Vincent Kompany for the tournament due to injury.
Marouane Fellaini is a liability for this team the way he has been for Manchester United all season. He will be an aerial threat for John O’Shea to have to deal with though. Belgium will be going into the competition as a team full of confidence but with individuals who have had poor seasons by their own standards.
Belgium topped what was a fairly easy group with seven wins, two draws and a loss on their way to tallying 23 points and a goal difference of plus 19. The one loss for the team came against Wales in the Millennium stadium with a goal from Gareth Bale.
Ireland will have to play this game very similar to their most recent win against Germany, to soak up the Belgians pressure and catch them on the break. It will be a tough midfield battle but Keane, Long, Walters, or any of our other forwards will get chances against this team, we just need to hopefully take them.
This is Ireland’s toughest test of the group stage with the opening game coming against a one-man team in Zlatan’s Sweden and the final one a game against an Italian team in transition. We will have to wait until June 18th to see if the Boys in Green (actually white on the night) can get the job done, or if our Euro adventure will come to a halt in Bordeaux.