Belfast Telegraph

How the Northern Ireland players rated in impressive Basel draw with Switzerland

Northern Ireland's players did the country proud with a heroic display in Basel that ultimately fell inches short of qualifying for the World Cup.

Had Jonny Evans later header travelled that little bit further across the line before being cleared by Ricardo Rodriguez, it would have been a very different story.

So how did all the players rate during a spirited 0-0 draw?

Michael McGovern: Made two big first-half stops that kept his team in the game. 7

Aaron Hughes: Now the home nations' most-capped defender and this was a composed performance in what may be his final international. 7

Gareth McAuley: Another who may now call it a day. Thrown on up front late on but did his best work defensively. 8

Jonny Evans: So nearly got justice for his brother Corry with a late header that was cleared off the line. 8

Chris Brunt: Tested Yann Sommer with two first-half attempts. Needed to conjure up more with a free-kick on the stroke of half-time. 7

Steven Davis: Was brilliant in midfield, never looks rushed. 8

Oliver Norwood: Did the dirty work and kept it simple while his central-midfield colleagues kept Northern Ireland ticking. 7

George Saville: Was tremendous in his first start in international football. Northern Ireland have to now build around him and Davis. 9

Jamie Ward: One of those who came in, his energy and drive were a big part of why Northern Ireland improved. 8

Conor Washington: Like Ward, his constant running transformed Northern Ireland and he almost headed his country back into the tie. 7

Stuart Dallas: Showed no ill effects of the injury that put him in doubt for this game - one of the best players on the pitch. 8

Substitutes

Josh Magennis (on for Ward, 75): Brought on to give Northern Ireland a more physical presence but Switzerland's centre-backs handled him well. 6

Jordan Jones (on for Norwood, 75): International debutant had no fear running at Juventus' Stephan Lichtsteiner when he came on. 7

Paddy McNair (on for Washington, 82): There was confusion about his position and the game bypassed him somewhat as Northern Ireland went direct. 6

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