Stephen Ward to start against Belgium

Burnley full back comes into Ireland defence with Robbie Brady moving to left wing

Republic of Ireland’s Stephen Ward during a training session at the Stade de Bordeaux on Friday. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

Republic of Ireland’s Stephen Ward during a training session at the Stade de Bordeaux on Friday. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

 

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has made just one change to the side that drew with Sweden for this afternoon’s match against Belgium with Stephen Ward coming in for injured striker Jon Walters in what is expected to be a slightly changed formation.

Ward will start at left back with Robbie Brady moving forward to play on the left side of midfield and Ireland are expected to play 4-2-3-1 with Shane Long up front as the lone striker.

Belgian manager Marc Wilmots has made rather more dramatic changes to his side in the wake of the opening defeat by Italy with Marouane Fellaini, Radja Nainggolan and Laurent Ciman all dropped as Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier and Mousa Dembele are drafted in.

Of those, Dembele is the only real surprise with Wilmots not having expected to frop both Nainggolan and Fellaini.

Starting line-ups

Republic of Ireland: Randolph; Coleman, O’Shea, Clark, Ward; Whelan, McCarthy; Hendrick, Hoolahan, Brady; Long.

Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Dembele, Witzel; Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku.

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).

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