Switzerland v Northern Ireland Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
November 10, 2017
St Jakob Park - World Cup Play-Off
Northern Ireland travel to Basle on Sunday evening, as they face Switzerland in the second leg of their World Cup play-off.
Switzerland take a 1-0 lead into this game thanks to a controversial penalty that was dispatched by Ricardo Rodriguez. Thursday’s clash at Windsor Park was the fifth meeting between the two countries, where Switzerland evened up the record at two wins apiece.
Corry Evans is suspended after being booked for conceding the highly controversial penalty last time out. Stuart Dallas is a major doubt for the return fixture, after an ankle injury forced him off the pitch just after half time in the first game.
Switzerland are likely to name an unchanged side for the second leg. Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria doesn’t turn 21 until later this month, but put in an impressively assured performance on Thursday to be named man of the match. He’ll get another chance to shine.
Switzerland v Northern Ireland Preview and Predictions
Few would argue that Switzerland were the better side in the first leg of this tie. Few would also argue that the penalty which decided it was one of the harshest you’re ever going to see. That decision’s gone though, and Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill must refocus his players if they’re to stand any chance of reaching the World Cup finals.
Staggering, bewildering and incredible were some of the words O’Neill used to describe the decision to penalise Evans for handball on Thursday. The Blackburn midfielder turned his shoulder to a Xherdan Shaqiri shot which was bound for his face, and the referee decided it was worthy of a penalty and a caution.
However aggrieved the Irish players feel, it doesn’t change the fact that they need a big performance if they want to reach next summer’s showpiece in Russia. You wouldn’t expect them to go all guns blazing from the off, especially considering the attacking threat the Swiss posed in the first leg. If Northern Ireland can get to half time still in the tie, then anything could happen in the second half.
The Green and White Army will start the game as underdogs in the betting though, priced at 27/4. You can back Switzerland at 8/15, while the draw’s available at 31/10.
Draw/Switzerland half time/full time at 29/10
Bet on the scores being level at half time before Switzerland edge the second half as the Irish players push for the win.
Northern Ireland to win and both teams to score at 14/1
Or back the visitors to record a memorable victory as they book their place on the plane to Russia.