Revealed:November 13, 2017 10:01 am
Switzerland are going to the World Cup after left-back Ricardo Rodriguez denied Northern Eire hope in each video games of their playoff at both finish of the sector. In every leg of Switzerland’s 1-Zero mixture win, the important thing incident concerned certainly one of Northern Eire’s Evans brothers.
Switzerland wanted solely a draw Sunday to advance to Russia, and a tense Zero-Zero end in rain-soaked Basel was preserved by Rodriguez’s goal-line clearance in stoppage time from Jonny Evans’ header.
“In the precise second he was in the precise place,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic mentioned of the AC Milan defender.
It meant Switzerland’s disputed penalty for handball within the first-leg victory in Belfast made all of the distinction. Rodriguez scored that spot kick on Thursday, when Corey Evans was whistled harshly for an incident that few agreed with.
Northern Eire coach Michael O’Neill mentioned his workforce’s exit after a spirited second-half Sunday was “a devastating second.”
“It was determined by a very poor determination and a penalty that ought to by no means have been,” O’Neill mentioned, 25 minutes after the ultimate whistle. “We must always nonetheless be taking part in additional time now.”
“It was a privilege to be their coach and supervisor tonight,” mentioned O’Neill, who shared tearful embraces with gamers on the remaining whistle.
Northern Eire got here to Basel with aggression in its play that had been surprisingly missing within the dwelling leg. Nonetheless, Switzerland dominated a lot of the primary half and may have sealed its place at a fourth straight World Cup a lot earlier.
Heart ahead Haris Seferovic was most at fault, failing to hit the goal with two first-half headed probabilities and a late shot lofted excessive over the aim.
Although Petkovic declined to criticize the Benfica ahead, who was booed by some followers when substituted, the coach acknowledged a daily weak point of his 11th-ranked workforce.
“We now have to be extra scientific in entrance of aim,” Petkovic mentioned by way of a translator. “We needed to endure to the tip, particularly with this opportunity Northern Eire had.”
Within the first of 4 stoppage-time minutes, Evans rose on the far put up to satisfy a cross that goalkeeper Yann Sommer misjudged to depart himself stranded.
Rodriguez moved throughout the goalmouth towards the put up and hooked the ball clear as he fell backward into the aim.
With their spot in Russia secured, the Swiss enter the pot of second-seeded groups for the World Cup draw on December 1 in Moscow.
Now the problem for arguably its most proficient workforce in many years is to transcend the final 16 at a significant event.
Prior to now 5 years, the Swiss impressed in qualifying however did not beat the perfect groups they confronted – France twice, Argentina and Poland – on the 2014 World Cup and 2016 European Championship.
“We don’t actually set limits for us. It might be even to the ultimate,” mentioned Petkovic, who ought to have his greatest gamers at their peak in Russia.
At 26, Xherdan Shaqiri is heading to his third World Cup, whereas Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and Rodriguez are each 25 and have matured as standouts from the 2009 Underneath-17 World Cup-winning workforce.
All three now have at the least 50 worldwide appearances. None had been born the final time Northern Eire performed at a World Cup, in 1986.
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.Switzerland Deny Northern Eire, qualify for 2018 FIFA World Cup
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