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Republic of Ireland v Belgium: Prediction, Tips and Odds

The Republic of Ireland endured a grim Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, losing at home and away to Group B rivals France, the Netherlands and Greece and earning their only points in two predictable victories over Gibraltar.

Their failure to qualify for this summer's finals in Germany signalled the end of Stephen Kenny's spell as manager, so interim boss John O'Shea will lead Ireland into Saturday's friendly against a classy Belgium side.

Republic of Ireland v Belgium

Republic of Ireland v Belgium betting predictions

Belgium to win & both teams to score - 7/2

The Republic of Ireland did not suffer any routs in a tough European Championship qualifying group but they consistently found themselves on the wrong end of low-scoring contests.

Under Kenny, the Republic lost 1-0 and 2-0 to 2022 World Cup finalists France, 2-1 and 2-0 to Greece and 2-1 and 1-0 against the Netherlands.

Their only goals in those six defeats were an Adam Idah penalty against the Dutch and an effort from centre-back Nathan Collins against the Greeks, while it took them 52 minutes to conjure a breakthrough in last June's 3-0 home win over Gibraltar.

Former Manchester United and Ireland defender O'Shea, in temporary charge while the hunt for a long-term successor to Kenny continues, will surely demand a more positive approach from the national team.

He has some talented forwards at his disposal with Idah, thriving on loan at Celtic, joined by Brighton's Evan Ferguson, Luton's Chiedozie Ogbene and Blackburn's Sammie Szmodics, who is hoping to win his first cap at the age of 28.

Szmodics is the leading goalscorer in this season's Championship and the hosts are capable of getting on the scoresheet in Dublin.

Belgium are missing star men Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, but attack-minded coach Domenico Tedesco can still name an exciting forward line.

Arsenal's Leandro Trossard, Manchester City's Jeremy Doku and highly-rated PSV winger Johan Bakayoko could start behind striker Lois Openda, a prolific goalscorer in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga.

Belgium have bounced back well from their shock group-stage exit at the 2022 World Cup, winning qualifying Group F and scoring 22 goals in eight matches, so they are worth backing to edge an entertaining friendly at the Aviva Stadium.

Lois Openda to have over 2.5 shots - 5/4

The absence of Belgium's record goalscorer Lukaku should mean an opportunity for RB Leipzig striker Openda to stake his claim for a regular start up front for the Red Devils.

The pacy forward scored 21 Ligue 1 goals for Lens in 2022/23 and he has hit the ground running in Leipzig, notching 19 times in 25 Bundesliga starts this term.

Openda, who has scored in both league matches against runaway leaders Bayer Leverkusen, is a tempting bet to have over 2.5 shots against the Republic of Ireland.

He has had 12 attempts at goal in just 145 minutes of playing time in Leipzig's last two matches against Koln and Darmstadt and averages 3.7 shots per game in the Bundesliga and 3.6 in the Champions League this season.

Matt Doherty to be booked - 9/2

Punters should tread carefully in the cards markets for international friendlies, but the Republic of Ireland's Matt Doherty merits a bet at a big price to be booked against Belgium.

Wing-back Doherty will be in the firing line against tricky Belgian wide players such as Doku and Bakayoko, who could take advantage of the Wolves man's rustiness.

Only three of his 21 Premier League appearances this season have been as a starter.

He was booked in the Euro 2024 qualifiers away to France and Gibraltar, as well as being shown a straight red card in the acrimonious 2-1 defeat in Greece last June.

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Republic of Ireland v Belgium odds

Republic of Ireland - 13/5
Draw - 12/5
Belgium - 21/20

View the full market and more odds for Republic of Ireland v Belgium on site

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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