Football

Watch: Northern Ireland Came Desperately Close To A Late Leveller In Switzerland

Watch: Northern Ireland Came Desperately Close To A Late Leveller In Switzerland

Northern Ireland will not be going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and the fact that the only goal in the tie came via one of the most bafflingly stupid refereeing decisions in recent times makes it particularly tough to take for the green and white army.

In Basel on Sunday night, Northern Ireland had to ride their luck as Switzerland blasted a barely believable amount of great chances high and wide, but Michael O'Neill's men stayed in the fight until the very and and never gave up.

They also came agonisingly close to taking the game to extra-time.

Northern Ireland ramped up the pressure late on and had a number of half-chances, but when Jonny Evans aimed a header at goal he looked to have done enough but for an excellent clearance from AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez.

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So close, and yet so far.

Switzerland were comfortably the better team over two legs but they couldn't put the ball in the goal, and needed the help of the Romanian referee in the first leg to get their ticket to Russia.

That said, Michael O'Neill can be proud of his players who gave absolutely everything, and he can also be proud of another fine qualification campaign.

Mikey Traynor

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