Bring on the Belgians

EURO 2016

Bring on the Belgians

As Irish fans look forward to their team’s Euro 2016 meeting with Belgium on Saturday afternoon, Seamus Coleman believes Ireland can build on their decent start with another good result, this time against the group favourites.

Belgium suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to Italy in their opening Group E game on Monday and really need to bounce back with a win against the Irish.

However, Coleman, who set up Ireland’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Sweden, said the Irish are ready to make it another difficult day for the Belgians.

“We go into Saturday’s game knowing we’re a hard team to beat,” Coleman said.

“No-one will like playing against us and we’re hoping to pick up a result.”

Monday evening’s draw with Sweden in Paris is a game that will live long in the memory for the Everton full-back who was making his first ever appearance at a Euro finals.

He supplied the cross from the right for Wes Hoolahan to fire Ireland in front, before Sweden equalised from a Ciaran Clark own goal.

Among the thousands of Irish at the game were large numbers of Donegal supporters who have travelled to France for the finals. Having watched their team play so well for large periods, the feeling was that it was a game Ireland should have won.

“I wouldn’t say it felt like a defeat,” Coleman said this week.

“It’s a point on the board. But obviously we were quite dominant for long periods of the game.”

With Shay Given and Shane Duffy also in the squad, there’s no end of Donegal interest at the Euros. Back in Coleman’s home-town of Killybegs, his family and many friends are loving every minute of it.

"It means an awful lot to the people of Killybegs, especially the young people," said Pat Rowan, who has been associated with the St. Catherine's club all his life.

"We are so proud of Seamie. Everything has been said about him but it is the young people who really look up to him. When he comes home, he is out playing with them on the green and they put him in goals.

"They all want to be Seamie Coleman out the field.

"We just hope that everything goes well for him on Saturday and next Wednesday," said Pat.

Saturday’s game against Belgium is in Bordeaux at 2pm and Ireland’s final group game is against Italy in Lille on Wednesday night at 8pm.