Best Odds: 49/20
Domestic football has been put on pause for a few weeks in favour of the return of the international break – the first one of the new campaign. In the wake of the Euros and Copa America, as well as the Olympics, many would expect this to be a fairly inconsequential few weeks. Alas, the pandemic has ensured we have to speed up the process on the road to Qatar with Northern Ireland and Switzerland being two of the many European nations attempting to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The days of Euro 2016 feel like a distant memory for this Northern Ireland side but if nothing else, they still have a lot of heart residing in their squad. Some have long since wondered whether or not the impending idea of a United Ireland could harm the future of this specific incarnation of the national team but with that seeming like an out-there thought right now, they just need to focus on what they can control – like scrapping their way into the playoffs by any means necessary.
Switzerland were always viewed as the “almost-rans” and “dark horses” of just about every international tournament they competed in across the last decade or so but this past summer, they shocked a whole lot of people by beating France in the Round of 16 to progress into the quarter-finals. In truth they were unlucky not to make it through to the semis but in a general sense, there should be a lot of excitement in the air about what this team can produce moving forward.
Factors to Consider
- In their last set of World Cup qualifier meetings, Switzerland won 1-0 before a 0-0 draw just days later.
- Switzerland are in 2nd place in Group C after three games whereas N Ireland are in 4th.
- N Ireland failed to qualify for Euro 2020 with the Swiss reaching the quarter-finals.
- N Ireland have won three, drawn one and lost two of their last six games.
- Switzerland have won two, drawn three and lost one of their last six games.
Northern Ireland have really shown some grit thus far in qualifying and in their most recent run of form, and even though they’re in a difficult group, we still expect to see them put up a good fight against the Swiss. The aim of the game needs to be getting physical and letting them know they’re there, and if they can manage that, we think they can come away with a point – because the last thing these sides do against each other is score tonnes of goals.
Best Odds: 49/20
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