Three players to watch in Saturday's Euro 2016 games

Football Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2016 - Belgium training session - Knokke-Heist, Belgium

Featuring players from Southampton, Everton and Bayern Munich.

Belgium Training - EURO 2016Belgium Training - EURO 2016

It’s come to a crucial stage in Groups E and F. The Republic of Ireland and Belgium will be looking to go second in Group E when they meet in Bordeaux this afternoon.

Group F will see Iceland – who got a very creditable point against Portugal last time out – against surprise group leaders Hungary, who were victors over Austria on their opening matchday. They meet in Marseille before Portugal and Austria meet at the Parc de Princes, as both sides will look to bounce back from their setbacks in the opening games.

One or two players are going to be key to their side getting the result they want, so here’s a look at three who could have a huge influence on proceedings.

Romelu Lukaku

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku shoots wideBelgium's Romelu Lukaku shoots wide

He offered very little to Belgium during their defeat to Italy, and spurned a wonderful opportunity to equalise before being substituted in favour of Liverpool’s Divock Origi. However, given he failed to take one of his opportunities when he came on, the Everton forward could be leading the line again in a crucial clash for the Belgians against Ireland. Today, he simply has to deliver.

Shane Long

Sweden's Andreas Granqvist in action with Republic of Ireland's Shane LongSweden's Andreas Granqvist in action with Republic of Ireland's Shane Long

Belgium will line up with a side containing at least three centre-backs in their back four, and Long’s game is typically about harassing the back line. Belgium didn’t look comfortable as a unit at the back against Italy, and the Southampton forward may get some joy. He also has a knack for scoring the odd big goal for his side as well – if ever there was a man for the occasion.

David Alaba

Austria Training - Euro 2016Austria Training - Euro 2016

You could tell that he was one of the more classy players in the Austria side during their defeat to Hungary, and they could really do with a positive result against Portugal. While Portugal have the superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo, Austria have a midfielder who could have a massive influence on proceedings – and his country needs him tonight.

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