Northern Ireland vs Switzerland Predictions, Betting Tips & Preview
Northern Ireland and Switzerland will contest the first of eight games that will decide the final four sides to reach the 2018 World Cup. O’Neill will know his side has drawn a short straw here, but they’ll fancy their chances at home.
Game: Northern Ireland vs Switzerland
Venue: Windsor Park
Kick-off: Thursday 9th November, 7.45PM
In a group that contained Germany, Czech Republic and Norway, the Northern Irish always knew a battle for third place with Norway was a possibility, but they were still expected to fall short by the bookmakers. Despite losing their final game 1-0 in Norway, O’Neill’s men defied expectations and now have 180 minutes to book their place in the World Cup.
But it won’t be an easy task. Northern Ireland were only beaten 2-0 and 3-1 by one of the best sides in the world during this group phase, Germany, but in Switzerland face one of the most in-form teams in world football. The second leg in particular will provide a tough test, so the importance of this home tie cannot be understated.
Northern Ireland are being well respected by the bookmakers ahead of this game. The home side are underdogs at 2/1 with Paddy Power, whilst the draw is available at 9/4 with Unibet. High flying Switzerland are 11/8 with Betfred.
Home advantage has been a big plus for Northern Ireland as they look to follow up their recent Euro 2016 qualification. Germany, Croatia and Portugal are the only three sides to win here at Windsor Park. Northern Ireland have avoided defeat in 16 of 20 and hosted some respectable sides in that time.
Switzerland look unplayable at home recently, even beating eventual group winners Portugal 2-0. But away from home they’ve looked more vulnerable. Portugal returned the reverse score line, whilst Hungary and even Andorra gave Switzerland a scare in late and narrow losses.
The bookmakers have shown Northern Ireland a lot of respect here. To an extent they’re commanding it with their performances in the past two or three years, but at the same time this is a different level, a different stage and a situation they don’t have experience of being in.
Back our Free Betting Tip: Switzerland -0.25AH at 9/10 with Bet365
Switzerland have looked defensively strong during the group stages, but arguably their only serious test was a fully fit Portugal away from home. They lost 2-0, and whilst there may be a gap in quality here, Hungary and Andorra have shown us that a spirited effort may just be enough to register a goal against this Swiss side.
Back our Score Prediction: Switzerland to win 2-1 at 9/1 with Betfair
It’s hard to point your finger on a goal scorer when you consider that Switzerland’s last eight goals on their travels have come from eight different players. Rodriguez and Seferovic are the only players with more than one away goal to their name, and the latter has netted four goals in this campaign. Seferovic is the most likely starter in attack.
Back our Scorer Prediction: Haris Seferovic to score at 14/5 with Bet365