Thursday 26 April 2018

Stark warning for Ireland as Man City's Kevin De Bruyne nets stunner for Belgium against Switzerland

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring against Switzerland. REUTERS
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring against Switzerland. REUTERS
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Kevin De Bruyne scored a stunning late winner as Belgium stepped up their Euro 2016 preparations with a 2-1 win against Switzerland in Geneva last night.

After a first half goal from Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili was quickly followed by a Belgium equaliser from Romelu Lukaku, Belgium sealed a morale boosting with win De Bruyne’s 83rd minute screamer.

The Man City attacking star confirmed his status as a key member in the Belgium side as he unleashed a dipping vicious effort that left Switzerland keeper Yann Sommer stranded.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots played a full-strength team for the game against fellow Euro 2016 competitors Switzerland, who were beaten by the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in March.

With Eden Hazard taking over captaincy duties from the injured Vincent Kompany, this was a vital test for Wilmots side before their Euro 2016 opener against Italy in Lyon on June 18th, with his team selection certain to be of interest to Ireland boss Martin O’Neill.

Belgium are Ireland’s second opponents in Euro 2016 Group E and he presence of Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld at the heart of their defence suggests coach Wilmots has had a change of heart in his selection over recent weeks.

Wilmots has claimed that Alderweireld and his Spurs team-mate Jan Vertonghen would remain in the full-back berths in his side, despite the absence of the experienced Kompany.

Yet Alderweireld lined up alongside Thomas Vermaelen in an experienced Belgian back-line, with Alex Witsel moved to a right-back slot.

That selection would appear to offer Belgium more security at the heart of their defence heading to France, with their attacking power on show in a good display away from home.

Man Utd’s Marouane Fellaini remains a key cog in their plans, with Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele starting at the base of the midfield.

Belgium now have home matches against Finland and Norway to complete their Euro 2016 preparations, but this trip to Switzerland confirmed Wilmots and his team are moving into gear ahead of the finals this summer.

Online Editors

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