Northern Ireland and Switzerland will lock horns on Wednesday, September 8, at Windsor Park in their fourth match of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers. These two nations last met in 2017, when they parted ways with a 0-0 draw.
Northern Ireland vs Switzerland
When: Wednesday, September 8 – 19:45 GMT
Where: Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Weather: Showers, 18°C
Referee: Harald Lechner (AUT)
The Swiss are coming off a decent display against the champions of Europe, Italy. On Sunday, they played a 0-0 draw with Italy in Switzerland. This time, they’re in Northern Ireland, where they’ll try to get themselves three points. Let’s see if they can do it!
Odds Keep Moving in Switzerland’s Favor
When the markets opened, the betting odds on the Swiss winning this game were around 1.70. On the day of the game, they’re as short as 1.57 at some online sportsbooks (e.g., bet365). So, what’s the reason behind the odds move?
First of all, it’s because Switzerland did very well in the game against Italy, especially in the defence. Secondly, they seem to be determined to get a win in Belfast, as it would be one giant leap toward qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.
At the moment, they have seven points from three games, which puts them in second place in Group C. Italy is at the top of the table with 11 points, but they have played two more fixtures than the Swiss, so obviously the Red Crosses are in a much better position.
This practically means that if the Swiss continue playing well, they have every right to hope to qualify for the World Cup directly. For this reason, you can be sure that they’re going to take their match with Northern Ireland very seriously.
It’s almost certain that they’ll go with a more offensive approach than in the Italy game. We expect Murat Yakin to go with three players up front, possibly with Haris Seferovic, Breel Embolo, and Ruben Vargas.
We should also see some changes in the midfield, where Remo Freuler could make a comeback after serving his suspension. Furthermore, Andi Zeqiri and Denis Zakaria could both get a nod.
Northern Ireland to Miss One of their Key Men
In the current Northern Ireland squad, only four players have more caps than Paddy McNair. The 26-year-old Middlesbrough defensive midfielder is one of their crucial players in the centre of the pitch and their primary penalty taker.
Unfortunately for the Northern Irish, he’s not going to play against Switzerland as he is serving a suspension, which he earned after getting booked in the game against Lithuania. Speaking of that game, it was Northern Ireland’s first win of the World Cup 2022 Qualification campaign.
It was played last Thursday in Lithuania, and the score was 4-1 for the visiting team, with goals via Daniel Ballard, Conor Washington, Shayne Lavery, and McNair. The victory has certainly given a massive morale boost to Northern Ireland, but the trouble is that they’re now facing a much tougher opponent.
What’s more, Northern Ireland are not exactly known for playing well at home. They’re 2-3-5 across their last 10 home bouts, albeit 0-3-5 across their last eight.
Over that stretch, Northern Ireland drew with Netherlands (0-0), Romania (1-1), and most recently Bulgaria (0-0), but lost agianst Germany (0-2), Norway (1-5), Austria (0-1), Slovakia (1-2), and USA (1-2).
Northern Ireland vs Switzerland Betting Pick
This is a must-win game for the Swiss. Not only are they a much better team, but they also have a good chance to challenge Italy for the #1 spot in the group. That said, anything but a Swiss win would be a major surprise.
Prediction: Switzerland -0.75 Asian Handicap – 1.76 at Sportmarket