Northern Ireland’s World Cup dream is over after a 0-0 draw against Switzerland in Basel.
Michael O’Neill’s side In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we review last week’s FAI Cup final with former Cork City defender Derek Coughlan and look ahead to Ireland’s massive World Cup play-off against Denmark.ultimately had no answer to the controversial 1-0 defeat at Windsor Park on Thursday night, but their performance in Basel on Sunday was much-improved from their display in Belfast.
Right from the off the visitors were determined to test Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer – and a couple of early long-range strikes from Chris Brunt did just that.
With Northern Ireland pushing forward looking to level the tie, however, they created more space at the back which allowed the hosts to have a couple of chances of their own. Striker Haris Seferovic, in particular, was guilty of wasting a couple of decent chances to get the goal that would have put a stop to the away side’s momentum.
Nothern Ireland began to turn the screw a bit more in the second half, Stuart Dallas and Conor Washington in particular were able to find space in the defence as they pushed on – though Switzerland still posed a danger on the counter and Seferovic continued his wasteful streak before he was later taken off.
The best closest that Northern Ireland came was in stoppage time, Sommer flapped at a corner and Jonny Evans’ goalbound header was cleared off the line by Ricardo Rodriguez.
Unfortunately for the Green and White Army, it wasn’t to be – and Rodriguez’s contentious penalty turned out to be the only thing separating the two sides.
That said, their impressive showing in Basel did not go unnoticed:
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 12, 2017
It’s heartbreak for Northern Ireland, who fought valiantly but couldn’t find the goal to deny Switzerland safe passage to Russia. pic.twitter.com/8iySxG30Vm
— FourFourTwo ⚽️ (@FourFourTwo) November 12, 2017
Credit to Northern Ireland what a performance this manager Michael o Neil has done a fantastic job they should all be proud of themselves to even get out of group was quality ??
— Clinton Morrison (@morrisonclinton) November 12, 2017
FT in Basel: Switzerland 0 @NorthernIreland 0. NI gave everything tonight and came so close at the end, but they lose out thanks to that horrific penalty decision in Belfast. So cruel. Switzerland won’t mind ….
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) November 12, 2017
— Brighty (@Mark__Bright) November 12, 2017
— Paul McCrum (@Paulmccrum17) November 12, 2017
“Every Northern Ireland player should be proud of themselves,” says Keith Gillespie on @5liveSport.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 12, 2017
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we review last week’s FAI Cup final with former Cork City defender Derek Coughlan and look ahead to Ireland’s massive World Cup play-off against Denmark.