Preview: Republic of Ireland vs. Belgium

Preview: Republic of Ireland vs. Belgium

Republic of Ireland will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run of form to seven matches when they take on Belgium in an international friendly on Saturday evening.

The home team were last in action against Luxembourg in November, recording a 3-0 victory in their final 2022 World Cup qualification match, while Belgium drew 1-1 with Wales in their last qualifier.

Republic of Ireland won two and drew three of their final five World Cup qualification matches, but it was not enough to help them finish in the top two, with a record of nine points from eight games leaving them third, so Stephen Kenny’s side will not be present at this year’s competition.

The Boys in Green have actually failed to qualify for each of the last five World Cups, while they were also not present at Euro 2020, with their last participation in a major tournament coming at Euro 2016.

Republic of Ireland will bring a six-match unbeaten run into this contest, though, while they have lost just one of their last 10 international matches, so there are certainly reasons to be positive.

Kenny’s team will take on Belgium and Lithuania in their two friendlies this month before returning to competitive action in the UEFA Nations League against Ukraine at the start of June.

Republic of Ireland, who beat Luxembourg 3-0 in their last match in November, have not actually overcome Belgium since a friendly in May 1966 and lost 3-0 to their fellow European nation at Euro 2016.

Belgium, though, have qualified for the 2022 World Cup, picking up 20 points from eight matches to finish at the top of Group E, securing an automatic spot in the finals of the competition.

Roberto Martinez’s side have only won one of their last four matches, losing twice to France and Italy in the UEFA Nations League back in October, while they will enter this game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Wales in their final World Cup qualification fixture.

Belgium will take on Republic of Ireland and Burkina Faso in their two friendlies this month before beginning their UEFA Nations League campaign against the Netherlands at the start of June.

The Red Devils will be looking ahead to the World Cup, though, and they will be expected to make a serious impression in the competition, having finished third at the 2018 edition of the tournament.

Belgium also reached the quarter-finals in 2014, in addition to the last eight at Euro 2016 and Euro 2020, so it would be a surprise if they were not present in the latter stages of the competition.

Republic of Ireland International Friendlies form:
Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):
Belgium International Friendlies form:
Belgium form (all competitions):

We say: Republic of Ireland 2-2 Belgium
Republic of Ireland will fancy their chances of picking up a positive result against an under-strength Belgium side on Saturday, and we are predicting an entertaining match in Dublin. The home side will be bidding to take another step in the right direction, and we fancy their unbeaten run to continue here.

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