Northern Ireland face their biggest obstacle to a potential World Cup spot on Wednesday, as they face Switzerland in Group C.
Assuming European champions Italy take care of business to top the group, second place and a play-off spot is the objective for Ian Baraclough’s men, who picked up their first win of the qualification campaign against Lithuania last week.
It still leaves them fourth, three points behind second-placed Switzerland, who they play this week in Belfast and again next month on the road.
Switzerland held Italy to a draw last time out, having already beaten Lithuania and Bulgaria in the group.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the fixture.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 7:45pm BST on Wednesday 8 September at Windsor Park.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Football. Subscribers can stream the match via the Sky Go app. If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription. We may earn commission from some of the links in this article, but we never allow this to influence our content.
What is the team news?
Northern Ireland will be without the suspended Paddy McNair, while goalscorer against Estonia Shane Ferguson was a weekend injury doubt. Jonny Evans, Stuart Dallas, Corry Evans, Josh Magennis and George Saville were already all missing too.
Switzerland will miss Eray Comert, who has a concussion, but should otherwise have a full squad to choose from. Most of the line-up was changed between the games against Greece and Italy; this line-up is likely to be closer to that which held the Azzurri. Key men Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Breel Embolo were all injured and unavailable for this international break.
NIR – Peacock-Farrell, Smith, Ballard, Cathcart, Flanagan, Lewis, McCann, Davis, McCann, Washington, Lavery
SUI – Sommer, Widmer, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez, Zakaria, Frei, Sow, Zuber, Vargas, Seferovic
Northern Ireland 9/2
Even a below-strength Switzerland in attack should cause a few issues for Northern Ireland who have their own absences to deal with. A point would be a tremendous effort, but across these two clashes with the Swiss, it’s unlikely they’ll come out on top either time. Northern Ireland 0-2 Switzerland.
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