Republic of Ireland vs Belgium: Preview and Prediction

Belgium will look to kick-start their preparations for UEFA Euro 2024 with a win over the Republic of Ireland away from home.

After a disappointing run in the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers, Republic of Ireland will be eager to return to winning ways when they square up against Belgium in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium. Meanwhile, the visitors will look to gear for the European Championships in Germany.

Ireland lost six out of their eight qualifying fixture. They finished fourth on the points table with two wins both of which came against bottom-placed Gibraltar. They were 12 points behind the second-placed Netherlands, who qualified for the Euros alongside France.

The home team’s UEFA Nations League performance from back in the day was not sufficient to earn them a place in the play-offs either. Stephen Kenny left the managerial role last November, and Ireland are yet to replace him which means they are heading into this one without a boss and on the back of a horror qualifying campaign.

Belgium have already booked their place in the Euros with a dominant display in the Qualifiers. They finished top of Group F with six wins and two draws in eight outings. They have won each of their last six games and will be looking to get everything in place before the continental tournament in the summer.

Domenico Tedesco, who took charge after their disappointing group stage exit in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, has done wonders for them. He will look to try out all of his players over the new four friendlies and get a clear idea of what his starting lineup will look like when they take on Slovakia in the group stage of the Euros on 17 June. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics

Republic of Ireland

35-year-old Seamus Coleman is back in the Irish squad after recovering from his injury. But, they do have a blow as Troy Parrott and Liam Scales have both withdrawn from the squad. Their youth internationals, Joe Hodge and Andy Moran have been added to the squad.

Interim manager John O’Shea is expected to go ahead with the 3-4-2-1 formation, where Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher will take charge in goal. Jake O’Brien is expected to get his first cap in this fixture and he will feature in the heart of the defence alongside Dara O’Shea and Nathan Collins.

Festy Ebosele and Matt Doherty will feature as the wing-backs for the home team. Meanwhile, Josh Cullen and Jason Knight will feature in the centre of the park. The duo will look to ensure Belgium midfielders do not end up dominating the proceedings.

Chiedozie Ogbene and Michael Johnston will feature in behind their striker. The duo will feature as the two attacking midfielders, but they will also drift wide when needed to provide width to their attacks. Meanwhile, Everton star Evan Ferguson will be leading the line.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kelleher; O’Brien, Collins, O’Shea; Ebosele, Cullen, Knight, Doherty; Ogbene, Johnston; Ferguson

Republic of Ireland vs Belgium Predicted XI


Domenico Tedesco will be without the services of Kevin De Bruyne. The Manchester City superstar is sidelined with injury along with Thibaut Courtois, who suffered another setback on his road to recovery from the ACL tear earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, their all-time top scorer Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to feature in this fixture. Tedesco will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Matz Sels will be in goal. Timothy Castagne and Arthur Theate will start as the two full-backs. They will provide support to the defensive pairing of Wout Faes and Jan Vertonghen, who will feature in the heart of the defence.

Orel Mangala will pair up with Youri Tielemans to shield the backline. The duo will look to dictate the pace of the game. Meanwhile, Jeremy Doku and Johan Bakayoko will provide the much-needed width to their attacks. Leandro Trossard, who prefers playing on the flanks, could be seen playing just in behind Lois Openda who will lead the line for Belgium against Ireland.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sels; Castagne, Faes, Vertonghen, Theate; Tielemans, Mangala; Bakayoko, Trossard, Doku; Openda

Republic of Ireland vs Belgium Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Belgium and the Republic of Ireland have faced each other on 17 occasions since their first meeting in 1928. The hosts have four wins to their name while the visitors have six wins.
  • Ireland have only won two out of their last nine games in all competitions.
  • Both teams have played out six draws over the years. Their last outing back in 2022 also ended 2-2.
  • Belgium have booked their place at the EUROs with six wins and two draws in their eight fixtures.
  • Ireland are without a manager heading into this fixture and John O’Shea is the one in charge.

Player to Watch

Lois Openda

Embed from Getty Images

Openda will get a rare opportunity to lead the line for Belgium with Romelu Lukaku not around, and he will look to make the most of it by getting his name on the scoresheet. The 24-year-old striker has scored 23 goals in the ongoing season for Leipzig and given his recent form, one will expect he will leave his mark on this fixture.


Republic of Ireland 0-2 Belgium

Ireland are not in the best of situations, and they are heading into this fixture without a manager. While they do have a lot of quality in their ranks, the home team are unlikely to trouble Belgium, who have been flying high under the leadership of Domenico Tedesco.

The visitors have been on a dominant run, and they will look to continue in similar fashion heading into UEFA Euro 2024. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for the away team, with Republic of Ireland returning to the drawing board.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.