Switzerland v Northern Ireland: O’Neill’s side need a huge performance

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Switzerland welcome Northern Ireland to Basel for the second-leg of their World Cup play-off on Sunday evening.

Michael O’Neill’s side have a bit of a mountain to climb to overcome their 1-0 defeat at Windsor Park.

The Swiss are 4/9 heavy favourites, with Norn Iron at 13/2, and the draw at 11/4.

Traditionally, the North’s best results under O’Neill have come at home, so the 1-0 defeat in Belfast was a big blow.

If they’re to qualify, they’re going to have to do it the hard way. And it’s particularly difficult when you examine Switzerland’s form.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side were the recipients of a very fortunate penalty decision to put them in the driving seat. However, the Swiss were dominant and really should have won by two or three anyway.

It’s difficult to back any side in a play-off at 4/9 – even the Swiss at home.

They’re much stronger than Norn Iron, though, and really should win here. Switzerland have won their last six home games in a row. Five of those were to nil.

You can back that market again at 11/10. In addition, 10 of Northern Ireland’s last 11 away fixtures have all seen Under 2.5 Goals scored.

Just three of those were Norn Iron wins, and two of them were against San Marino and Azerbaijan.

The Swiss are generally formidable at home so backing them to win and Under 2.5 Goals is nicely priced at 15/8.

With the North only being 1-0 down, O’Neill will likely instruct his charges to keep it tight again and try to nick a goal.

However, Switzerland really showed their class in the first-leg and could have been out of sight.

Playing the percentages and trying to level the tie is the smartest play for O’Neill but in reality, the Swiss should be too good.

If the home side score one, it’ll force Northern Ireland to come forward. Switzerland can then counter. Switzerland on the -1 Handicap at 13/8 could also be a good bet.

Click here for all the latest World Cup odds.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.