Irish fans respond to another Irish attack in the first half of the Ireland V Beligum match in the Euro 2016 Ireland/Sam Boal

Belgium exposed a huge gap in class with the Republic of Ireland to easily defeat them 3-0 in their European Nations clash in Bordeaux.

Belgium are rated second in the world, and they revealed why with a display that had Ireland in trouble right from the kick off.

Ireland defended desperately in that first half and somehow held Belgium scoreless. Meanwhile, their main attacking gambit was long hopeful kicks up the field to striker Shane Long who was hopelessly outnumbered.

It looked like the bad old Ireland of old when playing under Giovanni Trapattoni who always relied on a boring defensive alignment.

Under Martin O’Neill Ireland had supposedly left that style of play behind but the first half showed an unwelcome return to the old tactics.

At halftime the Irish had survived, but it only seemed a matter of time.

And indeed it was, when Belgium scored in a breakaway attack just two minutes into the second half when their impressive striker Lukaku scored. Lukaku was to add another to grab two goals in total while Witsel in between Lukaku’s two scores headed home a beautifully weighted cross.

Ireland had simply no answer and revealed a huge lack of depth and class.

Ireland now face elimination unless they can defeat Italy on Wednesday night and even then they are no guarantee to qualify.