Belgian strikers highlight importance of beating Ireland

By Reuters/Ian Rodricks   June 15, 2016 | 05:05 am PT
Belgium cannot afford any mistakes against Ireland in their second Euro 2016 Group E match on Saturday if they are to make up for the disappointment of their opening loss to Italy, striker Divock Origi has said.

Considered one of the tournament favorites by many, Belgium were outfoxed by a resolute Italian side in the 2-0 defeat on Monday, while Ireland were generally the better team in a 1-1 draw with Sweden at the Stade de France earlier in the day.

"We have to be ready for the next game. We know it will be tough because we have a lot of respect for Ireland and we'll have to look at how we play the game tactically," Origi told reporters in France.

"It's going to be an important game for us. We have to be ready. After the loss against Italy, we're obviously disappointed but we know that Ireland are a good team and we'll have to be at 100 percent to beat them, that's for sure."

Forward Romelu Lukaku was unable to find the back of the net against Italy and his poor display was highlighted by coach Marc Wilmots, who said he "didn't have a particularly happy night".

"A lot of people were talking before the tournament about what we can do but we had a reality check against Italy and sometimes that's good to know you still have a long way to go," Lukaku said.

"We have to win against Ireland now and we have to play good football as well. Ireland has a good team. Defensively they're very good and up front they have players who can make a difference."

Belgium, who are at the bottom of their group, will conclude their group stage campaign against Sweden on June 22.

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