Live

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Repeat: OTB AM
What will Ireland have learned...
Soccer

What will Ireland have learned about Belgium after their Italy loss?

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

18:46 14 Jun 2016

If the FIFA World Rankings are essentially pointless, Belgium might be a case in point.

Undoubtedly brilliant individually, they didn't look like much of a team after last night's 2-0 Euro 2016 defeat to Italy.

And that is significant for Ireland, who face them next in Group E.

Having re-watched the match, many of Belgium's problems are clear even if they are favourites for Saturday's clash against the Boys in Green in Bordeaux.

No ideas

Despite the forward talent at their disposal against the Italians, Belgium lacked the ability to unlock what was and is arguably the best defence at Euro 2016.

Dominating possession, they seemed to constantly run out of ideas when camped around the Italian box.

Eden Hazard  on one wing and Kevin De Bruyne on the other are outstanding for their clubs but they like to cut inside constantly.

That played into Italy's hands as attacks were funnelled into a dead-end and when a way through could not be found, Hazard, Axel Witsel and Radja Nainggolan attempted shots from outside the box which mostly proved ineffective.

Belgium only seemed to threaten regularly on rare counter-attacking opportunities - the best way of unlocking Romelu Lukaku's ability given he is average as a hold-up target man - and the one or two times they were able to find Marouane Fellaini to play off.

They seem to lack a true playmaker in midfield to play incisive passes and from Ireland's point of view, driving the Red Devils wider is a good way to make life hard for them.

Full-back deficit

The problem of narrowness is exacerbated by the lack of support from full-backs.

Belgium do not have any top level left or right-backs who are naturals in the positions and last night's game saw Jan Vertonghen and Montreal Impact's Laurent Ciman in the roles.

Neither provided much quality going forward which means Ireland can probably get away with a diamond midfield formation again.  

 

Ireland game-plan

Packing the centre of the pitch and sitting deep defensively are two of Ireland best bets. On one hand, it reduces the space that Belgium want to exploit centrally and also means Lukaku is deprived of space.

A diamond formation allows for that and is not a weakness because Belgium's full-backs do not threaten much.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Read more about

Soccer

Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Up next

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

OTB's Crappy Quiz

OTB's Crappy Quiz

07:00 AM-07:30 AM

Share

LIVE: OTB AM

LIVE: OTB AM

07:30 AM-10:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-03:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Friday Night Racing

LIVE: Friday Night Racing

03:00 PM-04:00 PM

Share

Team 33 Gold

Team 33 Gold

04:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:00 PM-08:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Friday Night Racing

Repeat: Friday Night Racing

08:00 PM-09:00 PM

Share

Team 33

Team 33

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

10:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on