MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 22:19:48
Nov 9, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Windsor Park
Attendance: 18,269
Northern Ireland
0-1
SwitzerlandSwitzerland

Evans (57')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rodriguez (58' pen.)
Schar (5')

Steven Davis ready for midfield battle against Switzerland

Steven Davis acknowledges the quality that Switzerland possess, but insists that Northern Ireland can exploit their weaknesses and make it through to Russia 2018.

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has confessed that his side have a big task on their hands if they are to reach the World Cup finals.

A two-legged qualifying playoff against Switzerland awaits Norn Iron, beginning with Thursday evening's opening tussle under the Windsor Park lights.

The Swiss were unfortunate to miss out on an automatic spot in qualifying for Russia 2018, dropping points in just one game - their final Group B match against Portugal last month.

Davis acknowledges that the opposition have many strengths, but believes that Northern Ireland can progress through if they get the midfield balance right.

"From seeing some early analysis of them, they're clearly very comfortable in possession," Sky Sports News quotes him as saying. "They like to build up from the back and play through the lines.

"It's going to be a difficult game. If you look at their results in qualifying, they were very unfortunate not to qualify automatically for the World Cup.

"The biggest thing for us is going to be getting that balance right, between pressing and cutting off the lines for them to play through. If we can do that, we know we've got the quality to hurt them, and there are weaknesses we can exploit."

Southampton midfielder Davis will win his 100th international cap on Thursday if selected by boss Michael O'Neill.

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Michael O'Neill during the Euro 2016 Group C match between Ukraine and Northern Ireland on July 16, 2016
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