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Belgium dispatch Ireland with ease, get Euro 2016 campaign back on track

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Much is expected from Belgium's golden generation.  That's why they are the golden generation, after all.  But, as it tends to be the case with most golden generations, they have yet to live up them.  Their opening match loss to Italy, a limp and ineffective 2-0 wasn't the start they would've wanted to Euro 2016, but after a similar first half today against Ireland, Belgium finally showed up for the second 45.

A brace from Romelu Lukaku, one assisted by De Bruyne, the other by Eden Hazard sandwiched an Axel Witsel header in the impressive 3-0 victory.  They were helped by some rather poor tackling from the Irish, who showed none of the quality on the ball that they showed in their first game against Sweden.  Is this the turning point for Hazard & Co?  A win to settle them down, and get them to play up this ideal we've invented for them based on the names on the teamsheet?  They will likely need a good result against Sweden to make the knockout round.

Chelsea's Belgians weren't the only ones of the Chelsea contingent at Euro 2016 to collect three points over the last couple days.  Gary Cahill helped England to a come-from-behind 2-1 win against big-talking Wales on Thursday and Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta were involved as Spain thoroughly outclassed Turkey 3-0 on Friday.  And let's not forget about Antonio Conte getting Italy to scrape another win together.  Meanwhile, over in the USA, Juan Cuadrado and Colombia beat Peru in a penalty kick shootout in the Copa America quarterfinals.  They will face the winner of Mexico vs. Chile in the semifinal on Wednesday.