Northern Ireland vs Switzerland: TV channel, stream, kick-off time, odds & World Cup play-off preview

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The Green and White Army are out to end a three-decade wait for a place in the biggest tournament in the world, but they face a difficult task

Northern Ireland take on Switzerland in the first leg of their 2018 World Cup play-off on Thursday as they hope to move closer to reaching the tournament for the first time in over three decades. 

The Green and White Army last played on the world stage in 1986 in Mexico, but, having reached the finals of Euro 2016 last year, they will be confident in their ability to defy the odds.

Switzerland, on the other hand, are familiar with major tournaments and they have reached the finals of the last three World Cups, reaching the last 16 in 2006 and 2014.

Game Northern Ireland vs Switzerland
Date Thursday, November 9
Time 19:45 GMT / 14:45 ET

TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM


Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland Euro 2016

In the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, the match will be available to watch live on television on Sky Sports Football and by live stream via Sky Go.

UK TV channel Online stream
Sky Sports Main Event Sky Go

In the United States (US), the match will be available to watch live on television on ESPN 2 and by live stream using WatchESPN. ESPN 3 will also broadcast the game in full later in the day.

US TV channel Online stream
ESPN 2 WatchESPN

SQUADS & TEAM NEWS


Position Northern Ireland players
Goalkeepers Carroll, McGovern, Mannus
Defenders Hughes, McAuley, J. Evans, Brunt, McLaughlin, Hodson, D. Lafferty, McNair, McArdle, Flanagan
Midfielders Davis, McGinn, Norwood, C. Evans, Ferguson, Dallas, Paton, Lund, Saville, Jones
Forwards K. Lafferty, Magennis, Ward, Washington

Aaron Hughes is the chief concern for Northern Ireland, meaning that there could be a reshuffle in defence, while Paddy McNair has been passed fit but could be forced to contend with a place on the bench.

Potential Northern Ireland starting XI: McGovern; McLaughlin, McAuley, J. Evans, Brunt; Norwood, C. Evans, Davis, Dallas; K. Lafferty, Magennis.

Position Switzerland players
Goalkeepers Sommer, Hitz, Burki
Defenders Lichtsteiner, Lacroix, Elvedi, Akanji, Lang, Rodriguez, Schar
Midfielders Frei, Xhaka, Behrami, Zakaria, Dzemaili, G. Fernandes, Zuber, Freuler, Shaqiri, E. Fernandes
Forwards Embolo, Seferovic, Mehmedi, Gavranovic

Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou is perhaps the biggest absentee for Switzerland, but coach Vladimir Petkovic still has a formidable squad to choose from.

Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri and Gunners star Granit Xhaka will look to lead from midfield, while AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez offers plenty going forward as well as at the back.

Potential Switzerland starting XI: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Rodriguez, Lang; Xhaka, Freuler, Mehmedi, Dzemaili, Shaqiri; Seferovic.


BETTING & MATCH ODDS


Steven Davis Northern Ireland

Switzerland are favourites at 23/20 according to dabblebet, with Northern Ireland considered a 14/5 bet to win in Belfast. A draw between the teams is priced at 2/1.

Click here to see dabblebet's odds for markets such as first goalscorer, correct score and more.


GAME PREVIEW


Michael O'Neill Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland have enjoyed an incredible turnaround in fortunes since Michael O'Neill took over the reins and reaching a World Cup would permanently etch the former Shamrock Rovers manager's name into the history books.

O'Neill guided the team to the finals of Euro 2016 by topping their qualification group and while in France they impressively managed to reach the last 16, where they were narrowly beaten by Wales.

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Buoyed by their European Championship displays, Northern Ireland carried their good form into the qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup and they finished second in a group containing Czech Republic and world champions Germany.

In Switzerland, they are coming up against a team that was on course to qualify directly for the World Cup ahead of European champions Portugal, but missed out only due to goal difference.

Indeed, with talent such as Shaqiri, Rodriguez and Xhaka in their ranks, the Swiss are rightfully considered favourites, but, under O'Neill, Northern Ireland have never paid much attention to the odds, so they will be confident that they can claim a positive result, particularly at Windsor Park.

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