8:45 PM
Windsor Park
World Cup Qualification UEFA • 2nd Round
  • 2nd Half
  • Northern Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • ZuberMehmedi
  • DžemailiFrei
  • LaffertyWashington
  • SeferovicEmbolo
  • EvansSaville
  • Rodríguez (P)
  • Evans
  • DallasWard
  • 1st Half
  • Northern Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • Schär

Northern Ireland - Switzerland
World Cup Qualification UEFA - 9 November 2017

World Cup Qualification UEFA – Follow the Football match between Northern Ireland and Switzerland live with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:45 on 9 November 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers Michael O'Neill or Vladimir Petkovic? Find out by following our live matchcast.

Have your say by voting on who will win between Northern Ireland and Switzerland? Enjoy some pre-match reading with related articles about these two Enjoy some pre-match reading with related articles about these two Football teams.
Head-to-head: see historical stats and visit our detailed profiles for Northern Ireland vs Switzerland. Get all the latest on Football: fixtures, results and tables.

  • End of 2nd Half


No, Northern Ireland are beaten on the night. Michael O'Neill's side now face an uphill task of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in over 30 years.

Ricardo Rodriguez's winning goal from the spot proves the difference at Windsor. It was a controversial decision to award the penalty and O'Neill will be raising his frustrations with the media, I'm sure.


Time is running out... can Northern Ireland muster one final opportunity?


Northern Ireland win a free-kick, but Brunt's delivery is cleared by Zakaria.


FOUR minutes will be added on!


Washington pokes a pass into the penalty area, but Switzerland scramble the ball clear. The nerves are jangling, but the visitors are hanging on.


Remember, the second leg will be played on Sunday at 5pm and you can follow the action live on the Eurosport website.

If Switzerland fail to find a second goal, which seems likely, it should be an enthralling tie.

  • Admir Mehmedi
    OffSteven ZuberSwitzerlandThird and final Swiss change: Mehmedi comes on to replace Zuber,
  • Admir Mehmedi
    OnAdmir MehmediSwitzerland

Third and final Swiss change: Mehmedi comes on to replace Zuber,


Switzerland win a corner, and three visiting players fall to the ground as the delivery comes in. However, the referee awards Northern Ireland a free-kick.

  • Fabian Frei
    OffBlerim DžemailiSwitzerlandA second Switzerland sub: Fabian Frei replaces Dzemaili.
  • Fabian Frei
    OnFabian FreiSwitzerland

A second Switzerland sub: Fabian Frei replaces Dzemaili.



Washington delivers a deep cross to Magennis who is lurking at the back post, but Rodriguez appears to use his arm to make the interception.

The referee waves away the home side's protests.


Into the final 10 minutes of the game and Northern Ireland are yet to register a shot on target. That isn't good enough, regardless of any referee decision.

  • Conor Washington
    OffKyle LaffertyNorthern IrelandAnd for Northern Ireland, Lafferty is replaced by Washington.
  • Conor Washington
    OnConor WashingtonNorthern Ireland

And for Northern Ireland, Lafferty is replaced by Washington.

  • Breel Embolo
    OffHaris SeferovicSwitzerlandSwitzerland make their first change, as Embolo comes on for Seferovic.
  • Breel Embolo
    OnBreel EmboloSwitzerland

Switzerland make their first change, as Embolo comes on for Seferovic.


Seferovic's through ball unlocks the home defence but Dzemaili collects in an offside position.


Mr Murray isn't holding back here...


Another Northern Ireland free-kick. This time it's around 30 yards out, on the left side. Brunt takes... but the effort is always drifting wide.



Brunt's cross is dangerous, but Magennis - left unmarked - can't direct his header on target. That was a great chance for the hosts!


Northern Ireland - yet to muster a shot on target - win a free-kick in a threatening position...


Zuber's cut-back finds Shaqiri but the Stoke City forward scuffs his shot and McGovern makes a comfortable save.


No matter the result, there will be plenty of question marks raised over Romanian ref Ovidiu Haţegan. Will his decision prove costly to Northern Ireland's World Cup hopes?


Possession: Northern Ireland 35 - 65 Switzerland.

  • George Saville
    OffCorry EvansNorthern IrelandGeorge Saville replaces Corry Evans as Michael O'Neill makes his first change in personnel.
  • George Saville
    OnGeorge SavilleNorthern Ireland

George Saville replaces Corry Evans as Michael O'Neill makes his first change in personnel.


Lichsteiner goes down easily as he attempts to clear the ball inside his own half, and the referee awards Switzerland a free-kick.


Just to make matters worse, Corry Evans was also booked meaning he will miss the second leg.


Well, was it a penalty? Corry Evans was only a yard or two away from Shaqiri when he blocked the effort. He has turned his back and it appears to strike his shoulder.

  • Ricardo Rodríguez
    Goal by penaltyRicardo RodríguezSwitzerlandGOAL! RODRIGUEZ SCORES! Rodriguez sends McGovern the wrong way as he drills the ball into the bottom corner. It is very cruel on Northern Ireland.


Rodriguez sends McGovern the wrong way as he drills the ball into the bottom corner.

It is very cruel on Northern Ireland.

  • Corry Evans
    Yellow cardCorry EvansNorthern IrelandPENALTY TO SWITZERLAND! Shaqiri's first-time volley strikes Corry Evans and the referee points to the spot. Very dubious.


Shaqiri's first-time volley strikes Corry Evans and the referee points to the spot.

Very dubious.


It has been far from a classic; Switzerland have only had two shots on target. Northern Ireland have had zero.


Northern Ireland are hanging on by the skin of their teeth at the moment.



How have Switzerland not scored? Dzemaili drills a low ball across the face of goal, but Seferovic fails to make a connection.

  • Jamie Ward
    OffStuart DallasNorthern IrelandDallas hasn't looked quite right since he was caught by Schar early on and the Leeds midfielder is finally replaced. Jamie Ward is on.
  • Jamie Ward
    OnJamie WardNorthern Ireland

Dallas hasn't looked quite right since he was caught by Schar early on and the Leeds midfielder is finally replaced. Jamie Ward is on.



Seferovic is picked out with a pin-point cross, but the Northern Ireland steps up to catch the Swiss forward offside. Well played - good defensive work.


Dallas still doesn't look fully fit and I'm surprised he is still on the pitch.


Set-pieces are probably Northern Ireland's most likely source of goal, and they will be disappointed that McAuley concedes a foul in the opponent's penalty box from their most recent free-kick.



Brunt fails to clear convincingly from Rodriguez's cross. The ball falls kindly to Shaqiri who curls his left-footed effort inches over the bar.

The finest of margins - that's the closest we have come to an opener.

  • 2nd Half

Switzerland get the second half underway. Northern Ireland supporters will be relieved to learn that Dallas is back out.


Switzerland were completely dominant in a one-sided first half but will be disappointed the scores are still locked at 0-0 at the break.

Xhaka went close, while Seferovic also spurned a decent opportunity.

Northern Ireland are fortunate to go in level, and a change in tactics is required.

  • End of 1st Half


Northern Ireland 0-0 Switzerland.


One minute of injury time will be played at the end of the first half.


Dzemaili's flick-on releases Lichsteiner! But the wing-back loses his footing at the vital moment and the ball rolls through to a relieved McGovern.


Switzerland are continuing to dominate possession as they wait patiently for a space to open up in Northern Ireland's defence.


Lichstiener is on the overlap once more, but his cut-back is straight into the path of Johnny Evans who clears with ease.


Dallas is going to continue for now, but appears to have hurt his ankle. He is going to try to run this one off.


Dallas goes to ground and looks in some pain. Perhaps he is still feeling the after-effects of Schar's earlier challenge which resulted in a yellow card for the Swiss full-back.


Lafferty and Magennis are well positioned in the visitors' box as they anticipate Brunt's cross, but the West Brom man curls the ball straight into the arms of keeper Sommer.


A pass down the channel allows us to enjoy a foot race between Dallas and Schar which the latter wins as he clears for a throw-in.


Magennis tries to hold the ball up inside the opponent's half, but he is simply out-muscled by Akanji who wins possession back for the Swiss.


Seferovic heads well wide from Lichtsteiner's cross.

For all of Switzerland's dominance, they will be disappointed the scoreline remains 0-0.


The Northern Ireland players are showing signs of nervousness in the opening half an hour. They are up against a well drilled, organised and well structured Swiss side - and the hosts have been second best.


Zakira fouls Brunt, and Northern Ireland have another free-kick. The West Brom midfielder delivers, but McAuley fouls his marker Akanji at the back post.


Northern Ireland fail to threaten from a set-piece and the visitors spring an attack on the break, with Zuber cleverly winning a free-kick of his own.


Lafferty goes down on the edge of the Swiss penalty area, but despite his protests the referee allows play to continue.


Just to demonstrate Switzerland's dominance: the visitors have passed the ball a total of 162 times, compared to Northern Ireland's 53.

Still, the most important stat is Northern Ireland 0-0 Switzerland.


Switzerland are finding a lot of joy in the wide areas, with Shaqiri, in particular, being afforded too much space.


Now it is Lafferty who is fuming as the referee awards a free-kick to Switzerland as the Northern Ireland forward is adjudged to foul his marker in an aerial battle.


Shaqiri feeds Lichtsteiner on the overlap and his cross is glanced wide by Zuber. The referee, correctly, awards Northern Ireland a goal-kick, but Xhaka is furious - he feels it came off a home player last.


Shaqiri takes a loose touch and allows Brunt to steal possession. He surges forward with determination, but sees his cross blocked.

Northern Ireland need to settle down, get the ball forward and somehow make it stick to relieve their defence of some pressure.


After winning nine of their 10 qualifying group games, many people felt that Switzerland might have felt sorry for the themselves, but they're playing like they have a point to prove tonight.


Switzerland have had over 70 per cent of possession in the opening 18 minutes. Dominant.



A wonderful first-time cross from Shaqiri finds Seferovic who gets the better of McAuley and pokes a shot at goal, but McGovern does well to smother the ball.


Lichtsteiner cuts inside and delivers a cross into the Northern Ireland box. However, the delivery evades Zuber, under pressure from McLaughlin.


Brunt's out-swinging cross picks out Johnny Evans but the West Brom defender cannot direct his header on target.


Lafferty's shot is deflected over by Xhaka and Northern Ireland now have an opportunity to test the Swiss defence from the corner.


Evans is back on the field, much to the relief of the home side.

Zuber gets past McLaughlin all too easily on the right and cuts the ball back for Xhaka who strikes wide from a similar distance to his effort a moment ago.


Johnny Evans has a nosebleed as a result of making that brave block and will need to leave the field momentarily.



A let off for Northern Ireland - Rodriguez finds Dzemaili whose goal-bound shot is bravely blocked by Evans! The loose ball sits up for Xhaka who curls the ball just over the bar.


Zakaria goes through Dallas deep inside the Northern Ireland half, winning possession and the referee was fine with the tackle.

A cross is eventually delivered into the six-yard box, but McLaughlin hacks it clear.


Switzerland launch an attack on the counter, with Shaqiri trying to thread the eye of a needle to find Seferovic. However, Johnny Evans makes the interception.


Dallas is back up on his feet, but is moving gingerly. He should be OK to continue, though.

The free-kick delivery is curled in by Brunt, but Xhaka gets a head on it to clear.

  • Fabian Schär
    Yellow cardFabian SchärSwitzerlandThe first booking of the game is issued to Schar for quite a reckless tackle on Dallas. Gerry Armstrong claims the Swiss defender is fortunate not to be sent off...

The first booking of the game is issued to Schar for quite a reckless tackle on Dallas. Gerry Armstrong claims the Swiss defender is fortunate not to be sent off...


Switzerland finally get their foot on the ball and will attempt to keep it for as long as possible to frustrate and silence the home supporters.


Magennis sends an early testing cross to the near post which Schar clears with an out stretched leg. Northern Ireland will be keen to dictate the play early on.

  • 1st Half


Windsor Park is at its loudest, its most colourful. How will the players respond?

We will find out in the next 90 minutes.


It's time for the national anthems. Kick off is only a few short minutes away...


If Northern Ireland are to have any chance of winning this two legged tie, realistically they will have to somehow, someway, sneak a victory this evening.

Michael O'Neill's side have lost only one competitive game at the fortress Windsor Park since 2013 - and that was the world champions Germany.

Can they pull off a memorable victory?!


The atmosphere in Belfast is building nicely and kick-off is now only 10 minutes away. Arguably, there hasn't been a more vital match in the capital since November 1981 when Gerry Armstrong scored the only goal as Billy Bingham's side beat Israel 1-0 to qualify for Spain '82.



Northern Ireland are entering the play-offs for the first time, qualifying automatically for World Cup 1958, 1982 and 1986. Also winning the group in Euro 2016 qualifying.


Northern Ireland kept seven clean sheets in World Cup 2018 qualifying; only England (8) managed more - but can they keep the likes of Shaqiri and Xhaka quiet this evening?

The Swiss won all but one of their 10 group games, losing only to Portugal on the final day and subsequently losing out on an automatic spot.


Michael O'Neill successfully guided Northern Ireland to their European Championships last summer - their first major tournament since 1986 - and he is only 180 minutes from sealing a place in Russia after Northern Ireland finished only second to world champions Germany in qualifying.

"It's important to reach the World Cup. We saw what it did to the country during the Euros and it brought everyone together," O'Neill said.

"The reality is these players have gone through a lot. Good and bad. Whatever happens we won't have any regrets. The prize is massive and we know how big a deal it is for everyone in Northern Ireland.

Michael O'Neill hopes to lead Northern Ireland to their first World Cup since 1986

The visitors are missing Valon Behrami, with meaning young midfielder Denis Zakaria stepping in.

Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri and Arsenal's Granit Xhaka also start.


Michael O'Neill makes only one change from the side that lost 1-0 to Norway last month, with Kyle Lafferty given the nod up front ahead of Conor Washington.

Steve Davis makes his 100th appearance for Northern Ireland on a night that is being described as the biggest match played in Belfast for over 30 years.



Starting XI: Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Akanji, Rodriguez, Schar, Xhaka, Zuber, Dzemaili, Zakaria, Shaqiri, Seferovic.

Subs: Hitz, Burki, Lacroix, Elvedi, Lang, Freuler, G Fernandes, Frei, Embolo, E Fernandes, Mehmedi, Gavranovic.



Starting XI: McGovern, McLaughlin, McAuley, J Evans, Brunt, Norwood, C Evans, Davis, Magennis, Lafferty, Dallas

Subs: Mannus, Carroll, Hodson, McNair, Hughes, McArdle, Ferguson, Jones, Lund, Ward, Saville, Washington.


Good evening and welcome to the first leg of the World Cup play-off at Windsor Park where Northern Ireland take on Switzerland.

Team news to follow...