Our football match prediction:
Switzerland will be aiming to defend their slim lead in the tie against Northern Ireland when the two teams face each other at St. Jakob-Park on Sunday afternoon. The Rossocrociati proved their worth in the first leg, with Milan full-back Rodriguez scoring the winner for Vladimir Petkovic’s troops from the penalty spot. Switzerland impressed in their World Cup qualifying group and seeing that they are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we predict that the hosts will book their place at the showpiece tournament in Russia without any difficulties. Stoke City ace Xherdan Shaqiri has been in a splendid form of late and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. The Green and White Army are not regarded as good travelers and they are unlikely to spoil Switzerland’s party in Sunday’s football match at St. Jakob-Park in Basel.
Highlighted Player (Granit Xhaka):
Granit Xhaka is widely regarded as one of Europe’s most talented central midfielders at the moment and he is on the radar of quite a few high-profile sides. Just two seasons at FC Basel proved enough to attract interest from Borussia M’gladbach, who secured his signature in the summer of 2012. The Switzerland international had a slow start to his career in Germany, causing many pundits to start doubting his credentials, but he eventually turn things around to show he is more than capable of playing at the highest level. Acting as a deep-lying playmaker, Xhaka impressed fans and pundits alike with his performances in Bundesliga and European competitions, and he even managed to score a couple of important goals in the process. Despite his fragile age, the highly regarded footballer has been a key member of the Switzerland national team for quite some time now, scoring 6 goals in his first 40 caps to establish himself as a real leader of the Rossocrociati. The 2014 World Cup, where he scored one goal in four starts, should prove just the first of many major tournaments to come.
Highlighted Team (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively. Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides. Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.