Northern Ireland must beat Switzerland in Basel on Sunday if they are to book their place at the World Cup in Russia next year.
Michael O’Neill’s team lost the first leg of the play-off at home in highly contentious circumstances, with a controversial penalty decision from referee Ovidiu Hategan allowing Ricardo Rodriguez to give the Swiss a 1-0 advantage.
As a consequence, Northern Ireland will need an outright victory at St Jakob Park if they are to have a chance of making their first World Cup in over three decades.
|Game||Switzerland vs Northern Ireland|
|Date||Sunday, November 12|
|Time||17:00 GMT / 12:00 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, the match will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Football and by live stream via Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football / Main Event||Sky Go|
In the United States (US), the match will be available to watch live on television on ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS and by live stream using WatchESPN. ESPN 3 will also broadcast the game in full an hour later.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|ESPN Deportes / ESPNEWS||WatchESPN|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Sommer, Hitz, Burki|
|Defenders||Lichtsteiner, Lacroix, Elvedi, Akanji, Lang, Rodriguez, Schar|
|Midfielders||Frei, Xhaka, Zakaria, Dzemaili, G. Fernandes, Zuber, Freuler, Shaqiri, E. Fernandes|
|Forwards||Embolo, Seferovic, Mehmedi, Gavranovic|
Former Arsenal centre-back Johan Djourou is the biggest absentee for Switzerland, while Valon Behrami is unavailable, but coach Vladimir Petkovic still has a formidable squad to choose from.
AC Milan’s Ricardo Rodriguez scored in the first leg, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka provide guile and steel in the midfield.
Potential Switzerland starting XI: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Rodriguez, Schar, Akanji; Xhaka, Zakaria, Mehmedi, Dzemaili, Shaqiri; Seferovic.
|Position||Northern Ireland players|
|Goalkeepers||Carroll, McGovern, Mannus|
|Defenders||Hughes, McAuley, J. Evans, Brunt, McLaughlin, Hodson, D. Lafferty, McNair, McArdle, Flanagan|
|Midfielders||Davis, McGinn, Norwood, C. Evans, Ferguson, Dallas, Paton, Lund, Saville, Jones|
|Forwards||K. Lafferty, Magennis, Ward, Washington|
Corry Evans is suspended having picked up a yellow card for handball in the first leg and reports suggest that Millwall midfielder George Saville will replace him.
Aaron Hughes and Paddy McNair are both deemed to be fully fit, but O’Neill is unlikely to make changes to his back line. There are concerns over the fitness of Stuart Dallas though.
Potential Northern Ireland starting XI: McGovern; McLaughlin, McAuley, J. Evans, Brunt; Norwood, Saville, Davis; Ward, K. Lafferty, Magennis.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
Switzerland are strong favourites to win according to dabblebet, with odds of 4/9 attached to them, while Northern Ireland are rated at 15/2. A draw is available at 16/5.
Click here to check out all the dabblebet markets for the game, such as correct score, first goalscorer and more.
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis insists that his team-mates will use their perceived injustice in the first leg as “fuel and motivation” to reach the World Cup. O’Neill and his players were left incensed by the decision to award Switzerland a penalty for a handball in Belfast, but Southampton man Davis says that it has given the team more incentive.
“We had to put that (the decision) to bed straight away in the dressing room, we’re still well within the tie and we just need to go out and give it our all,” Davis said. “Any emotions we have about the decision we have to use that as fuel and motivation.
“Listen, we have all dreamed of getting to a World Cup – it’s the pinnacle of players’ career so we have 90 minutes go and turn this tie around.”
While Davis and co. will look to channel their anger into a good performance and result in Basel, it will not be an easy task considering that Switzerland have not lost at home in a competitive match since 2014.
Arsenal player Granit Xhaka dismissed Northern Ireland complaints regarding the penalty decision and stressed that Switzerland would once again show that they are the better team on Sunday.