Player ratings: Belgium 3-0 Republic of Ireland – De Bruyne conducts dominant win for Red Devils

Belgium are up and running at the European Championships after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Republic of Ireland this afternoon.

The performance was a big improvement from their disjointed showing in the 2-0 loss at the hands of Italy on Monday night.

Red Devils manager Marc Wilmots rung the changes as Manchester United star Marouane Fellaini was dropped and Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele was recalled to the starting XI.

 

Martin O’Neill’s side drew their opening game of the tournament against Sweden on Monday night, where they were unfortunate not to take all three points.

Ciaran Clark’s own goal denied them a victory, but he kept his place in the side as the injured Jonathan Walters was replaced by Stephen Ward, with Robbie Brady pushing further forward on the left-hand side of a five-man midfield.

As expected, Belgium dominated possession in the first-half, with Ireland more than happy to get men behind the ball and frustrate the opposition.

Chelsea winger Eden Hazard wasted the best chance of the opening 45 minutes as he blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

However, just minutes after the restart the deadlock was broken as Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who was poor against the Azzurri, scored his first competitive goal since March 12 with a composed finish following a swift counter-attack.

Axel Witsel doubled the lead just after the hour mark as he took advantage of slack defending from the Irish to head past Darren Randolph, then Lukaku grabbed his second to seal Belgium’s first win of the tournament.

Click the gallery above to see the player ratings from this afternoon’s clash.