"Dare to Dream" is the motto of the World Cup campaign but the way of defeat to Switzerland from the play-off first leg provides Michael O’Neill nightmares. Northern Ireland was second on the back foot and on home soil for long against a team. When Ovidiu Hategan, the referee, ludicrously penalized Corry Evans for a handball that never was but they had surrendered few straightforward chances. The confident penalty of Ricardo Rodríguez left Northern Ireland facing and seething a prospect of qualifying for a World Cup for the first time in 32 years. They will need to become the first team since England in 2014 to acquire a match in Switzerland to divert Hategan. An order, given their opponents' superiority. "I clearly did not put my hands up. It struck me and I am absolutely gutted. He has booked me too, so I am on the second leg also, which is catastrophic."
Jonny, Corry brother, claimed the decision of Hategan was worse compared to Thierry Henry handball that price the Republic of Ireland. "It is different if he did not see it. He's promised to see something that didn't occur which is the hardest part to consider it." A feeling of injustice and anger was warranted. It may also be beneficial in the leg supplying resentment but there's not any question that the performance must be improved on by Northern Ireland here. Granit Xhaka and the Denis Zakaria controlled their team and midfield dominated possession. As their coach, Vladimir Petkovic put it: "If we'd taken our chances we would not be discussing the penalty." The 16,000 silver and green flags which the Football Association had commissioned were waved 15 minutes and still flew by the time Hategan got things. sbobet online
The biggest game in Belfast since the win over Israel in November 1981 that sealed the passing of Northern Ireland had a feeling worthy of the event. However, this marked a return to form before slipping up in the past in Portugal for a Switzerland side that had won. O’Neill explained the playoffs as games your own career is defined by that. His team began pressing the Swiss with Fabian Schär as he broke down the left wing when he scythed down Stuart Dallas amassing an early reservation. O’Neill maintained the defender should have been sent off and made off the floor with two feet. Ominously and increasing Switzerland had 69 percent of the ball in the first half and it needed the expertise of Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans to keep them. It was a relief that Michael McGovern had faced a single effort on target.
Jonny Evans intervened with a block although the unmarked looked set to score from 10 yards out. Xhaka put the rally inches over the crossbar and the Arsenal midfielder cursed his luck again later when the goal of McGovern was missed by another shot. When he joined the superb cross of Shaqiri the keeper saved from Haris Seferovic. As the routine of this play-off remained unchanged, the Stoke City playmaker was a fraction away from finding the top corner. A trademark left-foot curler from him sailed over and there was another reprieve for the home side when Dzemaili sent a ball and Seferovic was from converting at full stretch inches. Then came the moment that will linger in the nation's record of grievances and shattered Northern Ireland's prospects of taking a sheet. Rightly so. Shaqiri was left as a ball dropped 20 yards from goal, unmarked and he took the shot first time but Corry Evans struck and cannoned to safety. There was no handball and no possibility of getting out of the way had he so desired. Rodríguez ignored the anger to ship the way from the place to McGovern.