Northern Ireland vs Switzerland
FIFA World Cup Qualifying Play-off – UEFA
Date: Thursday, 9th November 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Windsor Park (Belfast).
Northern Ireland are looking for the first World Cup appearance since Mexico 1986. But, standing in their way is a resilient Swiss side who are looking for the fourth consecutive appearance at the final tournament.
The team who impressed at the Euro 2016 is looking for their second major tournament appearance under Michael O’Neil. They did the first part by finishing second in a group won by Germany, getting the better off the likes of Czech Republic and Denmark.
On the other hand, Switzerland were in direct battle with Portugal for the first spot in the group and eventually lost out 2-0 in the decider on final match-day. The Schweizer had made into in the last three editions of the World Cup and four of the last six editions of Euros. So, this is not an unfamiliar ground for the team.
Northern Ireland: Team News
Michael O’Neil has been consistent in his squad selection through the qualifiers. And hardly any changes are expected to a proven winning formula.
Northern Ireland: Predicted Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1)
McGovern – Brunt, Evans, McAuley, McLaughlin – Davis, Evans – Dallas, Norwood, Magennis – Washington.
Switzerland: Team News
Vladimir Petkovic will be without the injured defensive stalwart Johan Djourou. Therefore, Fabian Schar could partner with either Leo Lacroix or Manuel Akanji at the center back.
Another notable emission is Eren Derdiyok, who is struggled for goals with the Turkish club Galatasaray.
Switzerland: Predicted Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Sommer – Rodriguez, Lacroix, Schar, Lichtsteiner – Xhaka, Freuler – Mehmedi, Shaqiri, Dzemaili – Seferovic.
Northern Ireland vs Switzerland: Head-to-head
First meeting between the teams in 13 years since they met in a friendly that ended goal-less in 2004.
Overall, 4 meetings between them and Northern Ireland are ahead by a slim margin with 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.
Their last meeting in a World Cup qualifiers happened back in 1964 with teams winning their respective home matches.
Northern Ireland vs Switzerland: Predictions
Anymatch involving Northern Ireland these days can be termed as tricky affairs. Adding both teams’ defensive strength, Under 2.5 goals will be my main pick for this fixture.
Northern Ireland’s home record in recent years is commendable and they had lost to Germany and Croatia in the past three years. Switzerland have a strong squad at their disposal, but I highly doubt in their ability to break down hardworking defensive teams. Therefore, this is most likely to end up as a narrow home win.
Correct Score Prediction: 1-0 Northern Ireland @ 7.50 odd.
Northern Ireland vs Switzerland: Bet Tips
Under 2.25 goals @ 1.55
FT – Northern Ireland to win @ 3.40.
All Odds courtesy of 888Sport
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