IRELAND WILL play the best team in the world Belgium in an Aviva Stadium friendly on Saturday 26 March.
Belgium are ranked No-1 in the fifa rankings and will provide a stern test for Stephen Kenny's team.
Stephen Kenny and his Irish squad had been looking for a high profile game for FAI’s centenary celebrations this year.
International friendlies confirmed
⚽️ Ireland v Belgium
📅 Saturday, March 26
⚽️ Ireland v Lithuania
📅 Tuesday, March 29
World No.1 ranked team @BelRedDevils set to visit Dublin in March with ticket details TBC#COYBIG | #WeAreOne pic.twitter.com/zJ075dhEYa
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) January 25, 2022
The Red Devils have some of the best players in the world on their books. These won't include the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard as Martinez is only selecting players with 50 caps or less. The likes of Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Jeremy Doku of Rennes could feature though.
The two countries last met at Euro 2016, when the supreme Belgians cruised to a 3-0 win in Bordeaux.
Martinez, the current Belgium manager said:
“It will be an opportunity to develop players, not for 2022 but for 2026,” Martinez toldabout the March window, initially in the context of a trip to the Middle-East.
This will be followed by a game against Lithuania three days later.
After that game Ireland will prepare for their Nations League campaign opener against Ukraine in Dublin on Saturday, 4 June.
Scotland and Armenia are also in Ireland's group and will stand in the way of a place at Euro 2024.
The FAI have also confirmed Ireland will play another two friendly matches in the November window, with one of them set to be in Dublin.
No players with over 50 caps likely to be included in Belgium’s squad to face Ireland in March.
Still room for Thorgan Hazard, Origi, Benteke, Castagne, Tielemans, Mignolet by those rules though. https://t.co/KLp3EQK3dI
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) January 25, 2022
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES (times TBC)
Republic of Ireland v Belgium, Saturday March 26, Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland v Lithuania, Tuesday March 29, Aviva Stadium