Xhaka expects Switzerland to finish off Northern Ireland in World Cup Qualifier

Northern Ireland did extremely well to finish second in their tough Qualifying Group, finishing above the Czech Republic and Norway to end up second only to the unbeaten Germans, but they were then given another difficult task in the Play-Offs against Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland side.

But the plucky Irish gave as good as they got in the first leg and were only beaten by a very controversial penalty decision. As the Guardian put it….Northern Ireland were outplayed – and you can’t help but feel this tie is done before Sunday’s second leg in Basel – but they were mightily unfortunate to find themselves on the wrong end of one of the most ludicrous refereeing decisions you’ll ever see. The Windsor Park crowd is giving the officials pelters for awarding the penalty that allowed Ricardo Rodriguez to score the only goal and put Switzerland in control of the tie. It was never a penalty. That said, Switzerland were the better side by a considerable distance and it’s difficult to see how Michael O’Neill can turn this in his team’s favour. Still, it isn’t over yet.

The Northern Irish certainly seem to have a real axe to grind, but Xhaka thinks that his Swiss team fully deserve to go to Russia and expects them to finish the job next week at home. ‘I don’t know why it is such a big topic or why there is so much discussion,’ he said.

‘I think we have to leave it. I think we were the better team. We want to show that again and qualify for Russia.

‘I think we are a good team and maybe a better team when compared to Northern Ireland.

‘To discuss the penalty, and whether it was a penalty or not, it is the decision of the referee and not of interest to us.’

The Arsenal midfielder may be confident, but stranger things have been known to happen in Qualifiers and the Irish are not known for chucking in the towel. Granit may find it harder than he thinks in the second leg this week….



  1. Eat Pie says:

    Sell him he is useless, we can do much better.

  2. Godswil says:

    Would that help improve his performance for us? If yes then let them win.
    I always wish our players the best (except rebels and traitors – am sorry). If world cup appearance will improve him for us, let him go to Russia. Apology to our Irish fans (and I also wish you to be happy).

  3. Kenny Rolfe says:

    I gave up on International football years ago especially with these continuous breaks, kills the club game

  4. Cyprian says:

    Xhaka is right I wish his team the best

  5. jon fox says:

    What has this got to do with Arsenal and why then is it on our site at all? And don”t say just because Xhaka is quoted. Suppose eg Bellerin commented on Brazil; that would be totally irrelevant too. If you have nothing to say Arsenal wise Mr. Admin, why not go and do something useful, cut the grass, make a cup of coffee or read a book, etc. I come on here to talk Arsenal matters, not rubbish like this!

  6. tristan says:

    you seem very angry jon , i mean generally. i know you have supported arsenal for years. has it always made you so angry?

    1. jon fox says:

      Tristan, dear fellow what you , rather oddly, perceive as anger I consider merely plain and completely necessary speaking. Would that more on here would do the same and thus we might force Wengers sacking or resignation. If you have a specific point I am of course happy to address it but when you hide behind this sort of saying nothing in particular comment you make, it is difficult to know exactly what , about my unambiguous posts gets on your nerves. I do not wish to upset fellow fans, which I must assume you are. Care to say something specific then? Or if it is just my general wordy style that irritates you, well it is a free country and we are allowed free speech. The ball is now in your court old chap.

      1. tristan says:

        Thank you for your eloquent and thought-provoking reply. yes i am, like you, a fan, and you have not upset me just as i would not wish to offend you. perhaps my comment was a bit flippant. I can still see some good qualities in arsene wenger but totally see why some have long since lost patience with him. maybe i’m being sentimental or blinkered but i do love arsenal and think we both share a desire to see our club return to and ultimately surpass former glories. respect.

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