Republic of Ireland welcome Belgium to Aviva Stadium, Dublin, in an international friendly to mark the centenary of the Football Association of Ireland.
With both teams back in Nations League action this summer, this match serves as a chance to experiment ahead of a packed round of international action throughout 2022.
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Caoimhin Kelleher will start in goal for Republic of Ireland after Gavin Bazunu and Mark Travers were ruled out through illness and injury respectively.
Dara O’Shea could also be in contention for his first international start since suffering an ankle injury whilst on international duty in September against Portugal.
Belgium manager – Roberto Martinez could opt to start several inexperienced players alongside some fringe players after opting to rest several first-team regulars in this international window.
Thomas Kaminski and Davy Roef are therefore in contention to gain a first senior cap with a start in goal.
Wout Faes, Siebe Van der Heyden and Orel Mangala could be handed their first senior starts in defence and midfield respectively, whilst Jeremy Doku, Charles De Ketelaere and Dante Vanzeir fight for a starting spot in attack.
- Republic of Ireland have won four of seven previous friendlies against Belgium (W4, L3).
- Belgium have won two of their three previous away friendly fixtures against Republic of Ireland (W2, L1), winning both visits by 2-0 results in April 1949 and March 1965.
- Ireland have failed to keep clean sheets in their last five friendlies against Belgium.
- Ireland are unbeaten in four of their last five home matches in all competitions (W1, D3, L1).
- In four proper away matches in 2021, Belgium managed to keep only one clean sheet (W2, D2).
With just one defeat in their last 10 matches in all competitions, Republic of Ireland are certainly building some solid form but this match will pose a huge test of where the squad are at quality wise because Belgium are a strong team despite several key absentees.
Martinez meanwhile is taking a bold risk in giving a mixture of fringe and inexperienced players a chance to impress in this window, yet this is what friendlies are about so I am intrigued as to what line-up is fielded which could well be important to how this match unfolds.
I am consequently in two minds about how this could go because if Belgium go largely for inexperience and Ireland are strong, I feel like this is a good chance of a surprise home win whereas a mixture of fringe and inexperienced players could suit Belgium given their quality.
Prediction: ROI 1-1 Belgium