HomeFootball NewsRepublic of Ireland vs Belgium: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Republic of Ireland vs Belgium: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

It is a new look Republic of Ireland for this March international break with former Manchester United utility man, John O’Shea, taking charge of his first game as their interim manager. The Irish do have an emerging crop of players peppered throughout the squad but Stephen Kenny failed to implement a really effective identity, even with the intent of playing an easy on the eye style of football.

Belgium, coached by Domenico Tedesco, are in a transitional period as they move away from a ‘golden generation’ and to a new one. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku do remain but there is now more of a focus on players such as Arthur Theate, Arthur Vermeeren, Jeremy Doku and Lois Openda. They most recently edged past Serbia in November in a friendly and are unbeaten in all ten matches since the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Read our other international football news stories here:
Wales v Poland: Rob Page says Dragons have improved since World Cup
Manuel Neuer leaves Germany squad after suffering adductor injury
Mainoo targeting Euro 2024 after Man Utd wonderkid wins first England call-up

Team News

John O’Shea has made some fairly big calls in his first squad with Shane Duffy, Ryan Manning, Alan Browne, Jayson Molumby and Callum Robinson all dropped. Troy Parrott was selected but has had to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

The biggest injury issue for the Belgian national team this week is that Thibaut Courtois has suffered a setback that could see him miss the rest of the season and also puts his place at UEFA EURO 2024 in doubt.

Expected Line-ups

Republic of Ireland: Bazunu; O’Shea, Collins, Omobamidele; Coleman, Cullen, Knight, Brady; Ogbene, Ferguson, O’Dowda

Belgium: Sels; Faes, Vertonghen, Theate; Meunier, Tielemans, Onana, Castagne; De Ketelaere, Doku; Lukaku

What they Said

John O’Shea has been backed by Ireland’s national team captain Seamus Coleman to take the job on a permanent basis. The Everton defender said that O’Shea ‘has all the materials to be the Ireland manager.’

Prior to his injury, Thibaut Courtois once again complained about being overlooked for the Belgian captaincy, posting three Pinocchio emojis on social media site X in response to a quote from Tedesco saying that the former Schalke boss was doing everything to bring Courtois back into the fold after he missed games due to being overlooked late last year.

When and How to Watch

This match will be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin at 17:00 on Saturday March 23rd and will be televised live on Viaplay Sports 1 in the UK. It will also be able to be streamed live via the Viaplay Sports app.

Prediction

There is perhaps a little bit of extra and added excitement for this Irish international break with the appointment of John O’Shea but the fact of the matter remains that there have been few times throughout history whereby the disconnect between the Ireland squad and their supporters has been bigger. They welcome a Belgian side that are getting younger and, albeit personnel weaker, potentially stronger as a team and a Belgium win is to be expected in Dublin.

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