Euro 2016: Belgium 3-0 Republic of Ireland - 5 talking points
Belgium responded to their defeat to Italy in their opening game in devastating fashion as a brace from Romelu Lukaku and an Axel Witsel header guided them to a serene 3-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland.
After a fruitless first half, Belgium were finally rewarded for their dominance three minutes into the second half, as Lukaku confidently drove a side-footed shot past Irish custodian Darren Randolph following a brilliant counter-attacking run by Kevin de Bruyne. The lead was doubled 13 minutes later when right-back Thomas Meunier’s cross was headed in by Axel Witsel.
The finishing touches were applied in the 70th minute, as Eden Hazard made a similarly amazing counter-attacking run as Kevin de Bruyne (for the first goal) to feed Lukaku, who wasted no time slotting home past a hapless Randolph.
We look at the talking points of a relatively one-sided game in Bordeaux:
#1 Belgium respond to Italy defeat in style
After a poor performance in the 2-0 defeat to Italy, Marc Wilmots demanded a response from his Belgian side. They did so in nearly the perfect manner, putting Ireland’s backs to the wall right from start to finish. Their fullbacks were advancing up the pitch and defensive midfielder Axel Witsel was almost playing in a number 10 role behind the striker – reflecting the one-way traffic.
Even when Ireland managed to get some bodies up the pitch, they were thwarted by Belgium’s solid defensive organization. It was a complete performance, one to make other teams wake up and be wary of this Belgian squad.