Football matches can sometimes be decided by just one refereeing decision and that appeared to be the case during Ireland’s defeat to Belgium on Saturday afternoon.
With the scores level at 0-0 shortly after half-time, Ireland were denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty.
The ball was played in towards striker Shane Long but both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen attempted to clear the ball with raised feet.
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Vertonghen caught Long in the midriff while Alderweireld made contact with the forward’s head. As many people have pointed out, anywhere else on the pitch and it would have been a definite free-kick.
Not only were Ireland incensed with the decision to have been awarded a penalty, just seconds later they found themselves 1-0 down.
Should it have been a penalty?
Twitter certainly thought it should have been a spot-kick. Here are some of the best tweets:
The Belgian's instantly went on the conter-attack and Romelu Lukaku neatly finished from a Kevin de Bruyne’s pass.
From that point onwards, it was all Belgium. Axel Witsel made it 2-0 with a header in the 61st minute and Lukaku scored his second with 20 minutes remaining.
The result leaves Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign hanging by a thread. Martin O’Neill’s side have just one point from their opening two matches and need a win against Italy to stand any chance to progress to the last-16.
The only consolation is that Italy are now guaranteed top spot in the group meaning they may rest players for the final fixture on Wednesday.
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