Saturday 21 September 2019

Taoiseach reveals he will back Belgium against England in World Cup clash

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Shona Murray and John Downing in Brussels

Leo Varadkar will back Belgium in tonight’s World Cup match against England.

The Taoiseach said he is supporting the Red Devil's against England in tonight’s World Cup qualifier in Russia.

On his way into the EU leaders' summit in Brussels, the Taoiseach was diplomatic about his support of Belgium over our nearest neighbours, England, in tonight's game.

"Well I am here in Brussels, in Belgium, and of course I'm going to be cheering for the 'home team'. But if Belgium win, England probably get an easier ride in the next round. So, it's one of those win-win scenarios," he quipped to reporters.

Just a few streets from the Brussels' "EU bubble" there is no thought given to the 28 leaders gathered in efforts to untangle the problems of the modern world.

Amid the searing heat, all the cafes are festooned with large flags celebrating "Les Diables Rouges" - the revered Red Devils - who are among the few common symbols of unity in a country of 10 million people divided by tensions over language rights between French and Flemish speakers.

The entire Belgian capital is en fete and there is only one topic of conversation.

"The moment, so long awaited since the draw on December 1 in the Kremlin, has arrived," the editorial in the city's "Le Soir" newspaper declared.

Belgians believe their team has a real chance of big success on this occasion. The big screens appearing outside bars across the Brussels will be surrounded by enthusiastic and hopeful fans.

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