Northern Ireland (NI) have been left to rue the controversial first leg penalty that condemned them to a 1-0 home loss to their 2018 FIFA World Cup playoff opponents Switzerland after they suffered an aggregate defeat by the same scoreline.
Ahead of the second leg, NI knew they had to score without conceding to at least take the game into extra time but failed in that regard as both sides played out a goalless draw at St. Jakob Park in Basel. The closest they came to breaking the deadlock was when AC Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez denied Jonny Evans with a goal line clearance in injury time.
The goalless draw meant that Switzerland qualify for an 11th World Cup appearance with a 1-0 win on aggregate courtesy the controversial first leg penalty converted by the aforementioned Rodriguez while Northern Ireland’s wait to qualify for the tournament continues dating back to the 1986 edition in Mexico.
First Leg: Northern Ireland 0-1 Switzerland
Second Leg: Switzerland 0-0 Northern Ireland
Switzerland qualify for the World Cup with a 1-0 aggregate win