Republic of Ireland 2 - 2 Belgium | 2022 - Senior Men Friendlies | 999947756

Senior Men Friendlies International Friendly | Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Saturday, March 26, 2022

Republic of Ireland 2 - 2 Belgium

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MINI HIGHLIGHTS | Ireland 2-2 Belgium

The Republic of Ireland started the second century of their existence in fine fashion with an impressive 2-2 draw against Belgium.
26th Mar 2022

The No.1 ranked side in the world came to Dublin but were denied the victory after a spirited performance saw Chiedozie Ogbene and Alan Browne net for the home side.

Ogbene's first-half overhead kick brought Ireland back level before Alan Browne headed home Ogbene's cross to send the Aviva Stadium 48,808-strong crowd happy.

You can now watch all of the goals on the FAITV official YouTube channel above.

REPORT | Republic of Ireland 2-2 Belgium

On the occasion of its centenary year, the Republic of Ireland and Belgium played an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Aviva Stadium. Stephen Kenny's side, led by the man of the match Chiedozie Ogbene, came back twice to secure a draw against the world's top-ranked side.
26th Mar 2022

Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring as he controlled the ball on the left side then after cutting onto his right foot, to fire a high curling effort beyond the outstretched Caoimhin Kelleher.

Shortly after, Batshuayi came close to adding a second, but his effort was under-hit and he hit the side netting, as Kelleher covered the threat at his near post. Ireland began to put more pressure on the visitors as the first half progressed, with James McClean and Seamus Coleman teaming up well down the right and it was McClean who gave Ireland the initiative as his low shot got a deflection for a corner.

Moments later it was Chiedozie Ogbene's stunning finish that was to bring Ireland level. Following some excellent build-up play by McClean and Callum Robinson, Ogbene equalized with a superbly struck overhead kick after Robinsons’ cross into the box was not cleared correctly. Ireland was to start the second the brighter as an initial through pass that was half-cleared by the Belgium defence saw McClean's effort was intercepted by Robinson, who tried to guide it home with a clever touch that was cleared off the line by Jason Denayer.

After breaking free from the Belgium defence and collecting the ball at a tight angle, Jason Knight had an effort hit the side netting. Belgium, always a threat, had another Batshuayi shot diverted from a corner by Shane Duffy.

From that corner Belgium was to reclaim the lead, Thorgan Hazard's corner was sent into the area, with Hans Vanaken rising to direct the ball beyond Kelleher. For periods of the second half, Ireland maintained the majority of possession and came close to tying the game with a long-range effort from Robinson that had Simon Mignolet at full length pushing the ball away to safety.

After Ogbene done an excellent job of keeping the ball in play, he delivered a pinpoint cross to second-half substitute Alan Browne, who headed the ball brilliantly past Mignolet to give Ireland its deserved equaliser with five minutes left in the game.

Stephen Kenny's team put forward a strong showing in this match and will face Lithuania on Tuesday night.

Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Seamus Coleman ©, Shane Duffy, John Egan, Josh Cullen, Callum Robinson (Troy Parrott 90), Matt Doherty, James McClean (Ryan Manning 79), Jeff Hendrick (Alan Browne 75), Jason Knight (William Keane 75), Chiedozie Ogbene.
Subs not used: James Talbot (GK), Max O’Leary (GK), Conor Hourihane, Nathan Collins, Dara O’Shea, Scott Hogan, Mark Sykes, Jayson Molumby.
Belgium: Simon Mignolet (GK), Jason Denayer, Dedryck Boyata, Arthur Theate (Adnan Januzaj 75), Leander Dendoncker, Hans Vanaken, Youri Tielemans ©, Thorgan Hazard, Charles De Ketelaere (Orel Mangala 75), Alexis Saelemaekers (Thomas Foket 46), Michy Batshuayi (Christian Benteke 82).
Subs not used: Thomas Kaminski (GK), Matz Sels (GK), Leandro Trossard, Yari Verschaeren, Divock Origi, Adnan Januzaj, Albert Samba Lokonga, Sebastiaan Bornauw, Siebe Van Der Heyden.

Man of the Match: Chiedozie Ogbene

PREVIEW | Republic of Ireland v Belgium

Republic of Ireland welcome Belgium to the Aviva Stadium for a special FAI Centenary match as the Football Association of Ireland celebrate our 100th year. 
25th Mar 2022

Stephen Kenny's side come into the game on the back of their impressive 3-0 win over Luxembourg and the 0-0 draw against Portugal back in November. 

Match Details

Fixture: Republic of Ireland v Belgium 
Date: Saturday, March 26
Kick-off: 5pm
Competition: International Friendly
TV: Sky Sports

Match Officials

Referee: Nicholas Walsh (SCO)
Assistant 1: Graeme Stewart (SCO)
Assistant 2: Calum Spence (SCO)
Fourth Official: Neil Doyle (IRL)

Interview - The Callum Robinson FAITV Special 

Ahead of the Belgium match, FAITV sat down with Callum Robinson for a feature-length interview on his 2021 and looking forward to 2022.

"It is such a huge buzz to play for Ireland. I can't describe it when I touch down in the country and the wait for the match, it's amazing really. 

"We've built such a brilliant team spirit around the camp over the last year or so, and the lads love coming in. We've had some brilliant results and the way we're playing with the support we have behind us, we're really confident about what we can achieve in the future."

Watch the full interview on FAITV here.

Team News

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny confirmed Caoimhin Kelleher is set to start against Belgium with no other injury concerns ahead of the FAI Centenary match.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny said

"Caoimhín will definitely start. That's absolutely right, for sure. He'll most likely play the two matches now, I think it's fair to say, and deservedly so.

“He's had to be patient because of an unfortunate injury. He missed the last March camp with injury and Gavin Bazunu has come in and been absolutely outstanding.

"We're on a run of four and a half games now consecutively without conceding a goal - and Caoimhín has played his part in that because he played against Qatar. In Caoimhín's two matches to date against Qatar and Hungary, he hasn't conceded a goal, so he deserves his chance because he's been absolutely excellent."

Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman said

"Listen, it’s early days, like everything you don’t want to put too much pressure on them at the minute.

"To be completely honest with you, they are two exceptional goalkeepers. What we see in training on a daily basis from both of them is to a very, very high standard.

"They are both very humble lads, which is important, and both very eager to have a career in the game. It’s early days for them, but if they keep that mentality along with that quality, they can go a long way. We’re very excited by how they train and how they play."

Watch the full press conference here...

Republic of Ireland Squad - Belgium & Lithuania

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), James Talbot (Bohemians), Max O'Leary (Bristol City)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Nathan Collins (Burnley), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Jimmy Dunne (Queens Park Rangers).

Midfielders: Conor Hourihane (Sheffield United, on loan from Aston Villa), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Jeff Hendrick (QPR, on loan from Newcastle United), Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jason Knight (Derby County), Mark Sykes (Oxford United).

Forwards: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), Troy Parrott (MK Dons, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic), Scott Hogan (Birmingham City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Connor Ronan (St. Mirren, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers).