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Northern Ireland vs Switzerland predictions, betting tips and preview: Irish can thrive again as underdogs

Jon Wilde 6 Nov 2017
  • Northern Ireland vs Switzerland predictions for their World Cup play-off first leg
  • These teams are meeting on Thursday and Sunday
  • Read on for our free predictions and betting tips
Kyle Lafferty celebrates after scoring a goal for Northern Ireland (credit: Getty Images)

Northern Ireland vs Switzerland predictions for their World Cup play-off first leg in Belfast on Thursday. These teams are seeking an advantage ahead of Sunday’s return match. Read on for our free predictions and betting tips.


Northern Ireland have shown themselves in the last couple of years to be a team that should never be underestimated, so we are backing them to win the first leg of this World Cup play-off.

In similar style to Iceland, Michael O’Neill’s side have proven that their exploits at Euro 2016 last summer were no fluke and have given themselves a shot at contesting a second consecutive major tournament.

There was no way the Irish were ever going to finish above Germany in their qualifying group, but they saw off the Czech Republic to take second thanks to an excellent defensive record.

Only six goals conceded in their 10 games, five of which were to the world champions, shows how solid Northern Ireland are, and the one they let in to a team apart from Germany came when they had already secured the runner-up’s spot and went down 1-0 in Norway.


Kyle Lafferty of Northern Ireland celebrates a victory (Getty Images)

It will not be easy against Switzerland, but Windsor Park really has become a fortress these days and O’Neill has no selection worries that ought to diminish confidence.

Switzerland, meanwhile, can consider themselves very unfortunate not to have claimed a place in Russia directly because they won nine of their 10 matches in a group completely dominated by they and Portugal.

The Swiss and the European champions beat each other 2-0 at home and in the end it came down to goal difference, with Portugal simply enjoying more emphatic wins against the likes of Latvia, the Faroe Islands and Andorra who were the makeweights in the section.

It’s highly unlikely there will be many goals in this game because defending is what both of these teams do best. Switzerland are the favourites, but we have learned that Northern Ireland must never be discounted and with a passionate home crowd behind them they could eke out a narrow victory.

Northern Ireland vs Switzerland stats


  • These countries have met four times previously, most recently in 2004, with Northern Ireland winning twice and Switzerland once with one draw
  • Northern Ireland have hosted Switzerland in two of those games and won 1-0 both times
  • A clean sheet has been kept in 18 of Northern Ireland’s last 19 matches

Recommended bets


Northern Ireland to win @ 5/2 with Paddy Power
Under 1.5 goals @ 6/4 with Paddy Power



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Northern Ireland vs Switzerland predictions, betting tips and preview: Irish can thrive again as underdogs

Northern Ireland vs Switzerland predictions for their World Cup play-off first leg in Belfast on Thursday. These teams are seeking an advantage ahead of Sunday’s return match. Read on for our free predictions and betting tips.

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