When coming into this game, it was obvious to see that the Republic of Ireland could put themselves in a great position to secure UEFA Euro 2020 qualification – so long as they were able to avoid defeat against Switzerland. It was a tough, gritty game of international football but in the end, Mick McCarthy’s men were able to earn a point.
It was well known that Ireland would probably take the draw if it was offered out to them, and that was the way they seemed to set up. The Swiss were dominant in possession and looked really comfortable on the ball, consistently moving the play around and dictating the pace of play. The Irish, on the other hand, sat deep and ensured that they were in a position to counter the visitors as and when they came.
Zakaria, Schar and Embolo all had great opportunities to open the scoring, but they were unable to do so. As the game slipped into the second half it was clear to see that both the tension and the expectation was growing inside the stadium, and with just over a quarter of an hour to go, that tension reached a whole new level.
Fighting the good fight
Fabian Schar was able to put Switzerland into the lead in the 74th minute, forcing ROI to up their game – and then some. It seemed as if hope was running out but with five minutes remaining, David McGoldrick rose to head in the equaliser that made sure Ireland finished the night at the top of their group.
The hosts will now turn their attention towards a more winnable fixture against Bulgaria, although that will be a friendly as the rest of the teams in their group are given the chance to catch up with their games played. They’ll then go head to head with Georgia, as they attempt to make an even bigger statement on their road to the Euros. Switzerland, on the other hand, will take on Gibraltar before travelling to battle Denmark in what will be an incredibly difficult tie for them.
Republic of Ireland: Randolph (6.5), Coleman (6), Duffy (6.5), Keogh (6), Stevens (6), Whelan (6.5), Hourihane (7), Hogan (N/A), Robinson (6.5), Judge (6), Hendrick (6), McClean (7), McGoldrick (7), Browne (N/A)
Switzerland: Sommer (6.5), Mbabu (6), Fernandes (N/A), Elvedi (6), Schar (6.5), Akanji (6.5), Rodriguez (6), Zakaria (6.5), Xhaka (6), Freuler (6.5), Mehmedi (N/A), Embolo (6), Ajeti (N/A), Seferovic (6)
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
Goals: McGoldrick :: Schar
Yellow Cards: Duffy, Stevens, Judge, Mbabu, Schar
Red Cards: N/A
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