Friday, June 17, 2016

Euro 2016 - Belgium at the crossroads

After their debacle against Italy, a win against Ireland is imperative for the Belgians if they are to sail through to the next round. I would call their defeat on the tactical resilience of the Italians; I don't think it had anything to do with their attacking aptitude or motivation. As I was mentioning prior to the match, the Italians have been doing it to many a big team over the years and that's how they've built their reputations and characters. Think Espana WC 1982 against mighty Brazil...

Ireland will be someone a different matter for Belgium; this is a team without much pedigree, a little bit like them. But one with a big heart and resilience that is well coached by the likes of O'Neill and Keane. The Irish were unlucky not to beat Sweden in their first match; they created enough chances to win and only conceded on an own-goal. On its best day, this team will cause trouble to any other team.

Belgium go in the match as favourites, fair enough. But I think the Irish will make them work for it. They will let the Red Devils the benefit of play but will rely on their dangerous counter-attacks to cause an upset. The confidence will be on their side and it will only grow if Belgium gets frustrated in failing to score. I like the draw prospects of this match.

For the Group F matches, Hungary should at least get a point against the plucky Icelanders, and long punters might fancy the chances and attractive odds of Austria against Portugal.

Draw: Ireland v/s Belgium

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