Robbie Brady wary of threat posed by Belgium
Published 16/06/2016 | 07:31
Robbie Brady has warned his Republic of Ireland team-mates to expect Belgium to respond to the pressure of needing to beat them to rekindle their Euro 2016 hopes.
Ireland face Marc Wilmots' men in Bordeaux on Saturday knowing victory would not only leave them in pole position to make it to the last 16, but would also put the side currently ranked second in the world by FIFA in very real jeopardy of falling at the first hurdle.
However, Brady is wary of the quality Wilmots has at his disposal and knows the Republic will have to at least match the levels they reached for long periods in Monday night's 1-1 draw with Sweden if they are to add to their Group E points total.
He said: "I'm not sure what they're feeling, but we know they're a top-class team and they'll be coming in prepared. They're obviously going to be coming to win as well as we are.
"I'm not sure what they will be feeling, to be fair, but we'll just be doing our part to get ready for them and hopefully it's a good game."
Belgium slipped to a 2-0 defeat by Italy in their opening fixture and were less than impressive on the night.
But asked if he expected a backlash, Brady said: "Hopefully not!
"I'm sure they'll be wanting to pick up some sort of result with the defeat the other night, but we'll just be concentrating on ourselves and hopefully we can do enough to push us forward again."
Wilmots' squad is packed with individual talent, but he may not have all of it available to him with both Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard doubts for the game.
That might come as a boost to Ireland, although midfielder Jeff Hendrick was playing down the fitness concerns.
He said: "When you look at the squad they have, they have got many good players who can come in and out of the side. That's only two of them.
"They might be two of their better players, but they still have other players who can come in and do a good job, so we still have to focus on our game plan and make sure we are right.
"Even though they were beaten, it's still going to be a really tough game - but hopefully they're thinking the same looking at us."