Belgium 3-0 Republic of Ireland: Player ratings as second-half collapse costs Ireland dearly

Martin O'Neill's side were outclassed by a ruthless Belgium in the second half, leaving their chances of qualification resting on the final game against Italy on Wednesday.

Belgium 3-0 Republic of Ireland: Player ratings as second-half collapse costs Ireland dearly
Ireland were left dejected after they were overrun by Belgium in the second half. (Photo: UEFA.com)

Republic of Ireland suffered their first loss of Euro 2016 today, as they were outclassed in the second half by a rampant Belgium who began to look more like the team pundits expected them to be at the start of the tournament.

Martin O'Neill's side were resolute in the first half but their good work was undone by goals from Romelu Lukaku and Axel Witsel after the break, leaving the Irish needing all three points against Italy in their final group match on Wednesday.

After their opening game resulted in an arguably unfortunate draw, Ireland came into their second group game knowing that two draws would likely be enough to send them through to the knockout stages.

They came undone however after Lukaku opened the scoring with a close range finish on 48 minutes, and found themselves two goals down 13 minutes later as Witsel directed a header past goalkeeper Darren Randolph and into the net.

The scoring was completed in the 70th minute as Lukaku bagged his second of the game with yet another clinical finish from inside the penalty area, leaving O'Neill's side with no chance of a comeback in the 20 minutes that remained.

But how did the Boys in Green fare individually? Take a look at our player ratings for the game below.

A tale of two halves for Ireland's defence

Darren Randolph - 5 (out of 10) - The West Ham stopper could perhaps have closed off the gap at his near post for Lukaku's second, although he couldn't do too much with the striker's first effort and was unfortunate to see the power of Witsel's header take the ball out of his grasp and into the bottom corner.

Seamus Coleman - 5 - Coleman had a tough afternoon against a revitalised Eden Hazard, and although he attempted to get forward where possible in order to support Shane Long in attack he was unable to provide any meaningful deliveries into the box during the game.

John O'Shea - 5 - The captain coped well in the first-half when the Belgian attackers hadn't got themselves out of first gear, but was unable to keep Lukaku quiet in the second period as signs of his age began to show.

Ciaran Clark - 5 - Clark was one half of a central defensive partnership that finished 20th and 17th in the Premier League against a striker that netted 18 goals in the same division, and it showed in the end as he began to crumble once the first goal hit the back of the net.

Stephen Ward - 5 - Ward was deployed at left-back as Robbie Brady was moved to left-midfield in the absence of Jon Walters, and he had some difficulty coping with the double threat of Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Thomas Meunier down the left side of the pitch. His reluctance to attack also meant that his side did not have much on offer when a rare counter-attacking opportunity did present itself.

O'Shea was unable to cope with the pace and power of Lukaku in the second half. (Photo: UEFA.com)
O'Shea was unable to cope with the pace and power of Lukaku in the second half. (Photo: UEFA.com)

Midfield failed to impose itself

Robbie Brady - 5 - Brady was moved further forward than he started against Sweden due to to the injury of Walters, but this didn't have the desired effect as his set-pieces and crosses were easily dealt with by the Belgian defenders who had a rather quiet afternoon in truth.

Jeff Hendrick - 7 - Hendrick has been one of his side's more impressive players during the tournament so far, and was one of the more positive midfielders for Ireland today. He attempted to link up with Long on several occasions but ultimately couldn't find a telling final ball which proved to be his downfall.

Glenn Whelan - 5 - The Stoke City midfielder wasn't quite as imposing as he was against Sweden in Ireland's first group game, and although he attempted to get forward with the ball after going a goal down he was unable to influence proceedings as he would have hoped.

James McCarthy - 4 - It was an afternoon to forget for the Everton man, who was desperately chasing the shadow of Kevin De Bruyne all afternoon until he was taken off in the 62nd minute of the match.

Wes Hoolahan - 5 - Ireland's goalscorer against Sweden was used in a slightly deeper role today, and it showed as he was unable to get forward and support the attack often enough, instead being closed down deep into the midfield by Belgium. He needs to return to a more attacking role if he is to make an impact against Italy on Wednesday.

Lone striker left isolated all too often

Shane Long - 7 - Along with Hendrick he was one of the few positive points for Ireland in today's game, he worked tirelessly as he always does and looked to latch on to balls in behind whenever possible. Unfortunately for him his team-mates failed to create anything for him to turn into a goalscoring opportunity, leading to a frustrating afternoon in front of goal for his side.

Substitutes

James McClean - 5 - Didn't have any real impact on the game, with his crosses often finding the gloves of Thibaut Courtois rather than a man in a white and green shirt.

Aiden McGeady - 5 - Similarly to McClean, McGeady didn't get on the ball all too often and when he did he failed to do anything meaningful with it.

Robbie Keane - 5 - Had the same problems as Long when it came to goalscoring opportunities, and by the time he was introduced the game was long gone.