WCQ Playoffs
Date: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 9, 2017
Venue: Windsor Park

Peno Scored: 58'
- Ricardo Rodriguez 58'

FIFA World Cup Playoff Preview: Northern Ireland - v - Switzerland

Thu, Nov 09 2017

Northern Ireland line up ahead of game against Germany in October Credit: Macdara Ferris


Northern Ireland are ranked underdogs going into the home leg of their World Cup play-off against Switzerland on Thursday night (kick-off 7.45pm).


Michael O'Neill's side will be comfortable with that status as they've overcome better-regarded opposition both in qualifying for Euro 2016 and in this FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.


While conventional wisdom says it's better for a side to play the second leg at home, it may well suit Northern Ireland to get a good result to take away in the second leg.


If they're to do so, a clean sheet will be essential – and it's something the North specialise in after conceding in just three of their ten qualifying games, two of those against world champions Germany.


“I think in the first game we have to keep a clean sheet first and foremost,” captain Steven Davis told the association's official website.


“Naturally, we will be looking to win the game. It would be great to have a good foothold going into the second leg.


“It will be difficult. Switzerland are a top quality side. You just have to look at their results in their qualifying group and their world ranking.


“However, I have belief we can go and achieve it and I am really looking forward to it. I am certain the boys will give it their all.”


Paddy McNair and Jamie Ward have returned to the squad following long injuries but are both lacking in match fitness, however O'Neill has an otherwise full squad to choose from.




Nine wins from ten – including one over the European champions Portugal – in qualifying means Switzerland should come into this tie expectant of victory.


However losing out on automatic qualification on account of a final-day defeat to the Portuguese will rankle with the Swiss and recovering will be a test of their character.


"We have a mini-tournament in front of us and have to be better than our opponent,” Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic told his association's website.


“We start with zero points, but of course we are anxious to increase this number in the first leg already something. "


"With their mentality they can move a lot and the crowd can make up 20 to 30 percent.”


Midfielder Valon Behrami looks likely to miss out for the Swiss with injury.



Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)




Northern Ireland 1 – 0 Switzerland



Northern Ireland

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.



Injured: None.

Doubtful: Valon Behrami.

Suspended: None.


Dave Donnelly will be in Belfast to take us through the action from Windsor Park: http://www.extratime.ie/matches/detail/32859/1/

Northern Ireland



Photo Gallery for Northern Ireland -v- Switzerland