Northern Ireland host Switzerland in the first leg of their World Cup qualification play-off at Windsor Park on Thursday night. Who will win? This article contains our Northern Ireland vs Switzerland betting preview including predictions, betting tips, lineups, team news, best odds, bookie offers and no deposit free bets on the World Cup play-offs!
NORTHERN IRELAND vs SWITZERLAND BETTING PREVIEW
Northern Ireland have proven that their exploits at Euro 2016 last summer were no fluke and finished runner up to Germany in their qualifying group (that also included Czech Republic) thanks to an excellent defensive record. Michael O'Neill's men conceded only six goals in their 10 qualifying games, five of which were to Germany. Matches involving the Green and White Army are rarely peppered with goals - a clean sheet has been kept in 18 of Northern Ireland’s last 19 matches. They have only lost to Norway, Germany, Croatia and Portugal in the last 4 years.
Few changes are expected from Michael O'Neil, who should stick with the players that featured the most during the group phase. That would see Conor Washington spearheading the attack in a 4-2-3-1 formation, in which Stuart Dallas, Oliver Norwood and Josh Magennis are expected to play as offensive midfielders. At the back, Hearts defender Aaron Hughes is unlikely to be available for the first leg but could return for the second encounter on Sunday. Anyway, O'Neil will have Paddy McNair and Nottingham Forest forward Jamie Ward available again after a long spell on the sidelines.
Switzerland almost managed to secure automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup, but they fell at the final hurdle as a loss in Lisbon in their last Group B game saw Portugal snatch top spot by goal difference. That was their only defeat as Wladimir Petkovic's men won nine of their 10 qualifying matches, just like Portugal. Switzerland have been racking up clean sheets too though, as they have conceded no goals in 7 of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
Wladimir Petkovic will be without the injured defensive stalwart Johan Djourou. As a result, Leo Lacroix or Manuel Akanji are expected to partner Fabian Schar at the center back. Midfielder Valon Behrami is also expected to miss out with a thigh problem. As consequence, Remo Freuler and Granit Xhaka will start in the middle of the park, while Blerim Dzemaili, Xherdan Shaqiri and Admir Mehmedi will support Haris Seferovic up front.
NORTHERN IRELAND vs SWITZERLAND PROBABLE LINEUPS
Northern Ireland (4-2-3-1): McGovern – Brunt, J. Evans, McAuley, McLaughlin – Davis, C. Evans – Dallas, Norwood, Magennis – Washington.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Sommer – Rodriguez, Lacroix, Schar, Lichtsteiner – Xhaka, Freuler – Mehmedi, Shaqiri, Dzemaili – Seferovic.
NORTHERN IRELAND vs SWITZERLAND ODDS
|NORTHERN IRELAND||3.85 with||Bet £10, win £38.50|
|THE DRAW||3.20 with||Bet £10, win £32.00|
|SWITZERLAND||2.30 with||Bet £10, win £23.00|
NORTHERN IRELAND vs SWITZERLAND PREDICTIONS
|OUR PICKS||BEST ODDS||BOOKMAKER|
|Switzerland to win||2.30|
|0-1 Correct Score||5.80|
|Under 1.5 goals||2.50|
|Draw at Half-Time||1.95|
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