Ireland to reach fourth straight World cup finals


Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis shields the ball from Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez during the World Cup qualifying play-off first leg soccer match between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday Nov. 9, 2017.

Switzerland could have scored 10 goals in that second leg and it felt like half a dozen of those chances were spurned by Seferovic playing up front, so for Armstrong to suggest that Northern Ireland had "all the momentum" while continuing to concede glorious opportunities is just weird.

"'The players are emotional and upset", O'Neill said.

"It would have been..."

Switzerland had plenty of chances to kill it but Northern Ireland did have their one real chance, right at the very end.

"To discuss the penalty, and whether it was a penalty or not, it is the decision of the referee and not of interest to us". Within minutes every player on the pitch was soaked in mud and there was always something slightly lower league about this duel to get into the biggest show on earth.

But, the home side dug deep and held on to the draw they needed, denying a Northern Ireland side who are likely to once again highlight the impact of Rodriguez's controversial penalty in Belfast.

More news: 21 children injured at San Diego gym after platform collapses

Still, Switzerland dominated much of the first half and should have sealed its place at a fourth straight World Cup much earlier.

"It's a shame", said Petkovic.

"I think we are a good team and maybe a better team when compared to Northern Ireland". Evans got up at the far post, heading towards goal, but Rodriguez volleyed it off the line.

With their spot in Russian Federation secured, the Swiss enter the pot of second-seeded teams for the World Cup draw on December 1 in Moscow.

"We will take it match by match, opponent by opponent and we're not setting any limits". "It could be even to the final", said Petkovic, who should have his best players at their peak in Russian Federation.

"For some of these players it's unlikely the World Cup will come round again", he said.