Swiss supporters' confidence before clash is well placed
Excited fans thronged the streets of south Belfast last night as the kick-off time neared.
The busy Lisburn Road was strewn with broken bottles, crushed beer tins and discarded chip papers, and the pubs, off-licences and takeaways did a roaring trade.
As the Green and White Army worked themselves up into a frenzy of anticipation, five Swiss supporters who had travelled from Lucerne predicted they would be going home happy.
Mike and his pals Rolf, Dany, Brieska and Urs predicted Switzerland would win last night's match easily, by at least a two goal margin.
"Two-nil", said Martin confidently holding up two fingers as his friends cheered and waved their red and white flag.
His pal Dany said: "I think we will be going to Russia - we're going to Moscow. Shaqiri or Embolo will get a hat-trick, I am certain."
Others were not so sure.
Martin, Manuel, Stefan and Hannes from Aarau in the German-speaking Swiss Mittelland had got into the mood, topping off their home country's football shirts with leprechaun-style hats and chinstrap ginger beards.
But the friends weren't confident of victory.
"I think nil-nil," said Martin, stroking his ginger fluff-beard thoughtfully.
"Switzerland maybe has the better players, Northern Ireland has the better team spirit.
"But only one of us can go to Moscow.
"We will see," he said sportingly.
But GAWA fan Paul Stewart from Rathcoole from Tullycarnet had no doubts.
"Northern Ireland to win.
"Dead cert. I've £100 on Stevie Davis to score a penalty - and get booked!"