Switzerland beat Northern Ireland to 2018 World Cup

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Vladimir Petkovic’s side wasted numerous first-half chances as the Northern Irish stayed in the tie, but Ricardo Rodriguez’s controversial first-leg penalty in Belfast proved enough for the Swiss to reach their fourth consecutive World Cup.

Northern Ireland fell short in their bid to reach a first finals since 1986.

Away manager Michael O’Neill replaced Kyle Lafferty up front with Queens Park Rangers striker Conor Washington, while the hosts named an unchanged starting XI.

With heavy rain leaving the St Jakob-Park pitch in bad condition, Northern Ireland started strongly. Punch

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