Ireland’s chances to qualify decrease after Belgium defeat

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Republic of Ireland suffered today a painful defeat in front of Belgium in the Euro 2016 Group E clash, taking a big blow to its qualification hopes.

Belgium were the clear 3-0 winners in Bordeaux and its ‘golden generation’ clearly dominated possession during the game. Romelu Lukaku scored twice for his national team, once three minutes after the break and the second time in the 70th minute. The other goal was scored by Zenit Saint Petersburg’s midfielder Axel Witsel.

Ireland’s performance in today’s game was disappointing, to say the least, and even if they managed a composed defensive effort, Martin O’Neill’s side offered nothing spectacular in attack and they were left scoreless.

This result leaves them in a pretty precarious position and they now have to beat Italy in Lille next Wednesday to go through to the knock-out stages and not exit the European Championship.

It’s worth mentioning, though, that the match was marked by strange refereeing decisions, as Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir failed to penalise repeated Belgian fouling of Shane Long and booked Jeff Hendrick without any apparent reason after he merely kicked a loose ball away.

This is not to say, however, that the Belgian team didn’t deserve the win. They surely did and they gained three points.