Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland fail to qualify for World Cup finals despite spirited performance in Basel

Switzerland (1) 0-0 (0) Northern Ireland

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland players Chris Burnt and Conor Washington are dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Gareth McAuley
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Roy Carroll and Steven Davis are dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and Steven Davis are dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland players are dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's George Saville is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Aaron Hughes is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is dejected after drawing 0-0 with Switzerland but lost the World Cup Play Off 1-0 over the two games.
Northern Ireland's Jordan Jones (right) and his team-mates look dejected after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: George Saville of Northern Ireland is consoled by Oliver Norwood of Northern Ireland following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas (right) sits dejected as Switzerland players celebrate after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Michael O'Neill looks dejected following the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill embraces Jamie Ward after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel.
Northern Ireland fans remain upbeat despite failing to qualify after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans and Jamie Ward look dejected after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Swtizerland players celebrate after the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans show their dejection as their during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans show their dejection as their during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans directs a head towards goal during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans show their dejection as their during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans show their dejection as their during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez clears the ball away from goal during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer claims the ball under pressure during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor Washington during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor Washington with Switzerland's Fabian Schar during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor Washington with Switzerland's Fabian Schar during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor Washington during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor Washington with Switzerland's Fabian Schar during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Switzerland's Ricardo Rodrguez during this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's striker Conor Washington (L) and Switzerland's defender Fabian Schar vie for the ball during the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg qualifiying football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Switzerland's goalkeeper Yann Sommer deflects the ball during the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg qualifiying football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Switzerland's Haris Seferovic (left) and Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battle for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner during this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner during this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Switzerland's Granit Xhaka during this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili (C) vies for the ball with Northern Ireland's midfielders Oliver Norwood (L) and George Saville during the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Chris Brunt of Northern Ireland is chased down by Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley (centre) clears the ball from danger from the penalty area during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas with Switzerland's Granit Xhaka during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Haris Seferovic of Switzerland in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Granit Xhaka during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Granit Xhaka during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Northern Ireland's forward Jamie Ward (L) vies with Swiss midfielder Stephan Lichtsteiner during the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. at St. Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Haris Seferovic of Switzerland in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's forward Jamie Ward (L) vies with Swiss midfielder Stephan Lichtsteiner during the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. at St. Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis (left) and Switzerland's Granit Xhaka battle for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis (left) and Switzerland's Granit Xhaka battle for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward with Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner and Yann Sommer during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Steven Davis with Switzerland's Steven Zuber and Ricardo Rodriguez during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Fans show their support during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: The Switzerland team pose for a photo prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Switzerland and Northern Ireland players shake hands before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Northern Ireland players line up before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Switzerland and Northern Ireland players line up before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 12, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Switzerland. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Sunday night's World Cup play-off second leg in Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland with Switzerland during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic during the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Switzerland and Northern Ireland players walk out on the pitch before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
A general view of Norther Ireland fans in the stands before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Niall Carson/PA Wire
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Fans show their support prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill walks past ground staff using pitchforks to help drain the rainwater from the pitch before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland' fans at this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/11/2017 Northern Ireland v Switzerland World Cup Play Off qualifier second leg Northern Ireland' fans at this evenings game at the St Jakob-Park Stadium, Basel. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Northern Ireland fans during Sunday nights World Cup Play Off 2nd leg game against Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park, Basel.
Ground staff use pitchforks to help drain the rainwater from the pitch before the FIFA World Cup Qualifying second leg match at St Jakob Park, Basel. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Stadium staff dig the pitch with spades under pouring rain ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg qualifiying football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Stadium staff dig the pitch with spades under pouring rain ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg qualifiying football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Stadium staff dig the pitch with spades under pouring rain ahead of the FIFA 2018 World Cup play-off second leg qualifiying football match between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St Jakob-Park Stadium on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Grounds staff work on a water logged pitch prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg between Switzerland and Northern Ireland at St. Jakob-Park on November 12, 2017 in Basel, Basel-Stadt. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland have failed to qualify for the World Cup finals despite a spirited display in Basel.

Michael O'Neill's men earned a 0-0 draw in Basel after a much-improved display, Switzerland edging over the line care of their contentious penalty and 1-0 win at Windsor Park on Thursday evening.

NI came within a whisker of forcing extra-time, Jonny Evans seeing an injury-time header cleared off the line.

Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic missed two early gilt-edged chances to put the tie to bed, fluffing two headers. Michael McGovern had to be alert when Zuber did find the target but the visitors created chances of their own, Chris Brunt testing the goalkeeper with two stern first-half drives.

Northern Ireland piled on the pressure during the second half with Steven Davis, Stuart Dallas and Conor Washington all driving on the visitors in Basel.

Washington and George Saville both had two chances to send the tie in extra-time during NI's purple patch. First Washington flicked a top header inches wide of goal then Saville's shot was too tame to trouble the keeper when he should have done better.

Jonny Evans even had an injury time header cleared off the line by Thursday's scorer Ricardo Rodriguez as Northern Ireland piled on the pressure.

In the end, it wasn't enough for NI, who at least delivered a nervy night with an impressive performance.

Here's the match as it happened:

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph