Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland can beat Switzerland to end 32 years of World Cup hurt: Jennings

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings has backed Michael O'Neill's men to roll over Switzerland and make it to the World Cup in Russia next summer.

Former Tottenham and Arsenal goalkeeper Jennings savoured two of Northern Ireland's three appearances on the World stage in 1982 and 1986, but now he hopes 32 years of hurt will end when Switzerland are put to the sword over two legs.

The first game will be at Windsor Park on Thursday, November 9 with the second battle in Basel on Sunday, November 12.

"I'm optimistic and confident Northern Ireland can make it to Russia," said Jennings, Northern Ireland's record appearance holder with 119 caps.

"The fact we have avoided Italy and Croatia in the play-off draw is a big bonus and now this game gives us a real opportunity to progress.

"We will respect Switzerland, but we can be very proud of what we have achieved in the last few years and the squad is capable of reaching another major tournament.

"Michael will have the team well drilled and the players will have belief. We had a long absence from the World Cup stage from 1958 to 1982 and it would be great to see us back there."

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