Northern Ireland's World Cup dream ended by Switzerland

Pass master Oliver Norwood and Swiss ace Danis Zakaria

Jamie Ward's World Cup dream is over after Northern Ireland drew in Basel on Sunday, though it was a controversial penalty three days earlier that ultimately sent Switzerland through to Russian Federation.

Corry Evans is suspended after being booked in the controversial penalty incident, in the first leg, which Ricardo Rodriguez scored from.

This will be Switzerland's 11th qualification to the FIFA World Cup after making their debut at the second edition in Italy in 1934.

Xhaka showed little sympathy, though, pointing out that - in his opinion - Switzerland were the better team and got what they deserved.

Michaeol O'Neill threw on Jordan Jones and Josh Magennis, hoping one of them could spark something in the final third.

He has been linked with the Scotland job after transforming Northern Ireland's global fortunes since taking over in 2012 but said: "I haven't even considered that". If it wasn't for the penalty we'd still be playing extra time now.

"They couldn't have given any more; what they gave for me, what they gave each other, what they gave for the country was phenomenal".


"We will take it match by match, opponent by opponent and we're not setting any limits".

Switzerland began the second half much like they ended the first and crafted a chance with 60 seconds - Zuber taking too long and seeing his eventual shot blocked after Stephan Lichtsteiner picked him out in space at the back post.

"Quite honestly, in the end no one is interested how this game against Northern Ireland was", Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaxa said.

"We don't always have top-level players but we've got top-level characters and you saw that tonight".

Rodriguez moved across the goalmouth toward the post and hooked the ball clear as he fell backward into the goal.

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

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