The Windsor Park Stadium in Belfast will host the first match between Northern Ireland and Switzerland on Thursday, November 9, for the European qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The game starts scheduled for 17:45 (Brasília time).
The return match, scheduled for Basel, will be held on November 12. In addition to the goal balance, the first tiebreaker, the qualified goal will also be used, if necessary, to determine who will get the place in the World Cup.
The recent performance of Northern Ireland
Taking part in a World Cup is rare for the North Americans. They got their place in just three drinks. They disputed that of Sweden in 1958; the one of Spain in 1982, and that of Mexico in 1986. In Swedish and Spanish soil they managed to reach the quarterfinals. In the Mexican stages, they are no more than the first phase. It was the signal of the beginning of the fast that has lasted more than 30 years.
The very qualification for the repechage can be considered surprising. The draw of the groups for the European qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia was not the most favorable for Northern Ireland. He placed the team in key C, which had Germany, current world champion.
In theory, this meant that the second place and the right to play the repechage was the maximum to be achieved. Practice confirmed this thesis. The Germans won their 10 matches, accumulating 30 points and took first place and the direct spot in the Russian World Cup with the best attack (43 goals) and the weakest defense (four goals).
The North-Irish, however, were able to manage their limitations and scoring when they could, even if by far, escort Germany. They secured second place overtaking traditional teams like Czech Republic and Norway with two rounds of anticipation.
This allowed the team to use the last double round of the qualifying rounds as training for the recap. The results, however, were not the most encouraging. In October, they lost at home to Germany by 3 to 1, and to Norway, by 1 to 0.
But for the playoffs, coach Michael O’Neill has to manage a possible down. Leading defender Aaron Hughes is in the process of recovering from injury. However, according to local media reports, it will be difficult to participate in the first match. He is expected to improve his fitness and be available for play on Swiss soil.
The current form of Switzerland
The Swiss have the best campaign between the teams that were second in their groups and have won the right to play the European qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It was the student who got the perfect answer to take note ten.
In key B, who had Portugal as champion, the Swiss team took advantage of the advantage of acting against the Portuguese, still hangover of the conquest of the title of Euro 2016 and without Cristiano Ronaldo in the first round and they left in front of the classification. With a run of nine wins, he reached the tenth round needing only a draw to stamp his passport to Russia.
However, they did not resist the Portuguese, and as visitors, the Swiss were beaten 2-0 by rivals, who won all eight straight games and equalized in the standings with 27 points (nine wins and one loss). They ended up taking advantage of the goal difference.
The Swiss have a much longer tradition in the world. They disputed their first cup in 1934 and reached the mark of ten participations, including the World Cup of Brazil, of 2014, when they fell in the eighth of end. His best campaign was to reach the quarterfinals, which happened three times.
To face the North Irish, the Swiss coach also has medical problems. Johan Djourou, with knee injury, and Valon Behrami, with thigh injury, became doubts for the matches.
He called the following athletes to the duels: Roman Burki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (FC Augsburg), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Manuel Akanji (Basel), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Leo Lacroix , Michael Lang (Basel), Stephen Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Ricardo Rodriguez (Milan), Fabian Schar (Deportivo La Coruna), Valon Behrami (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Montreal Impact), Breel Embolo (Schalke), Edimilson Fernandes Ham), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Mario Gavranovic Rijeka), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Haris Seferovic (Benfica), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Granit Xhaka Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach), Steven Zuber (1899 Hoffenheim).
History of the clashes between Northern Ireland and Switzerland
The teams had only four meetings before the duel in the repechage for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Switzerland won once, there was a draw and two successes of the Northern Irish.
Of those matches, two were official and worth the qualifiers of the 1966 World Cup, which was played in England. At home, Ireland won 1-0. In Switzerland, the hosts gave the change 2-1.
In a weak group, Switzerland fulfilled the scheduled and won all possible matches until being unable to hold Portugal on the final day. He had also made a good campaign at Euro 2016. He is a solid team and should be considered the best bet option for the duel with a 2.30 bet on Bet365. Draw paid 3.10 and success of the North Irish in the first match yields 3.75 per invested real.