Northern Ireland v Switzerland: Back hosts to snatch narrow first-leg lead

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No side enjoys going to Windsor Park these days. And Northern Ireland must remind Switzerland exactly why in the first leg of their World Cup play-off.

Michael O’Neill’s men are 13/5 to grab the home leg, with their Swiss visitors favourites at 23/20.

A draw, which could favour either side depending on the score, is 15/8.

But Norn Iron know that if they don’t get a result in this opening encounter, then their chances will take a massive hit.

Switzerland have won their last nine competitive games on home soil.

Thankfully, the Green and White Army have been excellent at home too in recent times, and love playing the role of underdog.

Of their last 18 games at Windsor Park, O’Neill’s men have been beaten just three times.

That’s impressive in itself, but it’s taken the calibre of Germany, Portugal and Croatia to come away victorious.

So they should be rightly confident of a result, and a rocking home crowd will only help.

A rock solid defence has provided the bedrock for Norn Iron’s home success. The Green and White Army have kept eight clean sheets in their last 10 games.

Knowing that they simply can’t afford Switzerland an away goal, the hosts to win to nil is an appealing 17/4, while a 1-0 home win is 7/1.

This is likely to be a cautious game with the second leg still to come. Under 2.5 goals is 4/9, while under 1.5 could be worth a flutter at 27/20.

Kyle Lafferty and Josh Magennis top-scored for O’Neill’s side in qualification with four goals each.

Target man Lafferty is 5/1 joint-favourite to score first, and 21/10 anytime. Charlton Athletic striker Magennis is 6/1 to bag the opener and 12/5 anytime.

Haris Seferovic hit four for the Swiss in qualification, and is also 5/1 for the game’s opening goal and 21/10 to net a crucial away goal at anytime.

Click here for all the latest World Cup odds.

All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication

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