Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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Northern Ireland v Switzerland: Time is right, now seize the moment

By Graham Luney

Michael O'Neill has urged his players to forget about fear and live their World Cup dreams.

Northern Ireland take on Switzerland at Windsor Park tonight in the first leg play-off with the prize a place in next summer's World Cup finals.

It's the biggest game in Belfast since the 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Israel in 1981 and O'Neill is hoping his men will still have a fighting chance of making it to Russia when the second leg kicks off in Basel on Sunday.

"The thing I would say is not to fear the situation but to embrace it and make sure that, whatever happens, you don't have any regrets," said the Northern Ireland boss.

"We all know the prize is massive and there is a self-belief that has grown over the past three or four years in this squad.

"I see in the squad an opportunity that they don't want to waste."

O'Neill's vice-captain Jonny Evans added: "When it comes to crunch time, we've been able to stand up and produce big moments.

"That gives us an extra sense of composure and belief in the squad."

Belfast Telegraph

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