Switzerland are in the driving seat now. They were favourites to qualify for Russia next summer even before the first leg was played, but after Ricardo Rodriguez’ second half penalty sealed a 1-0 win for the Swiss side in Northern Ireland they already have one foot on the plane.
The hosts were unfortunate not to qualify automatically for the World Cup to be fair. They had a perfect record right up until the final game of the group campaign, including an early 2-0 win over Euro 2016 winners Portugal. However, their fellow favourites returned the favour in Lisbon with a 2-0 win, sealing the automatic qualification spot on goal difference.
25/1 FST #YourOdds!
All will be forgiven if they can see out this playoff though, and not many will be backing the visitors to overturn this deficit. Switzerland have won a huge 11 of their 12 games since they were knocked out of Euro 2016 on penalties, and at home things are even better. They have won six on the bounce in Switzerland, keeping a clean sheet in five of those matches.
Northern Ireland were never likely to qualify automatically in a group that included Germany, and they did very well to reach the playoffs to be fair, considering Czech Republic were also competing. However, it’s looking increasingly likely that their dream will come to an end on Sunday.
The visitors have lost their last three matches now and goalscoring has never been their strong point. They’ve relied heavily on their form at Windsor Park, and away from home have failed to score in three of their five games since their Euro 2016 campaign came to an end.
This is not good news when they’re coming up against a defensively sound Switzerland side, and backing Switzerland to Win to Nil looks a fantastic bet in this situation alongside a comfortable 2-0 correct score predictions.