Switzerland welcome Northern Ireland to Stade de Geneve, Geneva, in a crunch Group C showdown.
Victory for Switzerland would move them six points clear of Northern Ireland and move closer towards sealing a spot in the Qualifying Play-Offs, whereas Northern Ireland can go into second with a win.
Gregor Kobel is Switzerland’s only absentee after withdrawing from the squad with a knee injury.
Northern Ireland will be without Trevor Carson in goal after the Dundee United goalkeeper failed a fitness test earlier this week.
Michael Smith (thigh), Gavin Whyte (Coronavirus), Ali McCann (ankle) and Shayne Lavery (hamstring) are also ruled out.
- Switzerland are unbeaten in four of five previous World Cup Qualifiers against Northern Ireland (W.2, D2, L1)
- Northern Ireland are winless in two previous away World Cup Qualifiers to Switzerland (D1, L1).
- Switzerland have drawn four of their last six matches in all competitions (W2, D4).
- Northern Ireland have scored first in each of their last two away matches in all competitions.
- Both clubs are yet to taste defeat in matches refereed by Slavko Vincic – Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 at this summer’s Euros and Northern Ireland drew 0-0 away to Republic of Ireland in November 2018.
Having stuttered to two goalless draws in their last two matches including in Belfast against Ireland, Switzerland will be hoping that they can find that clinical breakthrough in their finishing ability if they’re to reignite their hopes of topping Group C.
Northern Ireland meanwhile realistically need to win here if they’re to stand any chance of qualifying for the Play-Offs, although they can take heart from a fearless home effort against Switzerland last month, in which they played well out of defence and defended well when needed.
This though should be a difficult match because Switzerland are unbeaten in their last six matches but have drawn four matches in that run, whereas Northern Ireland have nothing to lose and I can see them trying a counter-attack strategy which could pay off if they’re clinical up front and solid defensively.
Prediction: Switzerland 1-1 Northern Ireland
Result: Switzerland 2-0 Northern Ireland