Preview - Northern Ireland vs Switzerland 10 Nov

Started by Bensergi, Nov 09, 2017, 08:08 PM

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Bensergi

Northern Ireland vs Switzerland

Northern Ireland are aiming for their first World Cup finals appearance since 1986. They are entering the playoffs for the very first time, having qualified automatically for the 1958, 1982 and 1986 editions.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill wants his players to focus on their own strengths ahead of the first leg showdown against Switzerland.

"It's important to reach the World Cup," said O'Neill.

"We saw what it did to the country during the Euros and it brought everyone together."

O'Neill will hope to have key midfielder Paddy McNair, who returns from an 11-month injury layoff only a fortnight ago!

Striker Jamie Ward and Aaron Hughes are also back in contention.

Switzerland, who lost their final group game to Portugal after winning all of the first nine, are without defender Johan Djourou and midfielder Valon Behrami.

This will be the fifth meeting between these two countries. Northern Ireland have the slight upper hand with two wins and one loss.

Bensergi

Match Stats:

  • Northern Ireland 0-1 Switzerland
  • Shots: 5-16
  • Possession: 35%-65%
  • Corner kicks: 1-4


Northern Ireland face an uphill struggle to reach a first World Cup since 1986 after losing to Switzerland in controversial circumstances in the first leg of their play-off at Windsor Park.

Ricardo Rodriguez scored with a penalty just before the hour mark after Corry Evans was deemed to have handled inside the area.

Though that decision was harsh as the ball clearly struck the defender's shoulder, the visitors were dominant throughout and might have won by a greater margin had they converted a series of other chances.

They are now strong favourites to reach a fourth consecutive World Cup when the two sides meet again in the second leg in Basel on Sunday.

The result was a disappointment for Northern Ireland, who followed an impressive qualifying campaign with a below-par performance in their first major finals play-off.

Michael O'Neill's side had finished second in Group C behind Germany. Six wins from their 10 matches was more than they had mustered in any previous World Cup qualifying campaign.

Switzerland led Group B throughout, having won nine fixtures in a row, but lost their last game 2-0 to Portugal to miss out on automatic qualification on goal difference.

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