Ireland team to face Belgium named

SoccerBy Colm Hayes
Ireland team to face Belgium named

Martin O'Neill has named his side for the Group E clash against Belgium, while Marc Wilmots has made three changes to the side which lost to 2-0 to Italy in Belgium's opener.

Most Ireland fans will have been aware that talismanic Stoke City striker Jon Walters is not fit to play today, meaning O'Neill's team sees one enforced change from the 1-1 draw with Sweden on Monday.

Stephen Ward comes in to replace the Senior International Player of the Year, which will push Robbie Brady into an attacking left-wing role.

Ciaran Clark keeps his place in the centre of defence after putting the ball into his own net to hand the Swedes a draw against the Boys in Green.

The bigger change for O'Neill and Roy Keane's charges is likely to be formational, with a switch from the 4-4-2 diamond used against Sweden to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 set up looking likely.

Ireland team to face Belgium: Randolph; Ward, Clark, O'Shea, Coleman; Whelan, McCarthy; Brady, Hoolahan, Hendrick; Long

Meanwhile, Belgium have reportedly made three changes to the side who were defeated 2-0 by Italy in a static opening Euro 2016 performance.

This reported lineup sees Thomas Meunier replace Laurent Ciman at right-back, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Dembele take the place of Roma's Radja Nainggolan in the centre of the park while Manchester United man Marouane Fellaini drops to the bench as Atletico Madrid's Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco is selected on the wing.

Fellaini's omission sees Kevin de Bruyne inserted into the number 10 role, meaning greater attacking responsibility has been handed to the Manchester City star while his defensive workload should be reduced.

Dembele, following an excellent season with Spurs, was suprisingly kept on the bench for the entire Italy game.

His guile and craft in central midfield is likely to cause Ireland problems, with many being surprised at his omission from Belgium's opener:

Belgium do in fact line up exactly as reported: