World Cup play-off: Northern Ireland fume, Croatia cruise


Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill said he was “staggered and bewildered” by a controversial penalty decision which gave Switzerland a 1-0 win in their World Cup play-off first leg on Thursday.

Northern Ireland’s defender Gareth Mcauley (L) tries to tackle Switzerland’s forward Haris Seferovic (C) as Northern Ireland’s striker Kyle Lafferty (R) looks on during the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier second round football match between Northern Ireland and Switzerland at Windsor Park in Belfast on November 9, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

Vladimir Petkovic’s Switzerland team dominated the match at a rain-swept Belfast but squandered a succession of chances.

The key moment came with just over half an hour to go, when Xherdan Shaqiri’s volley was blocked by Corry Evans in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, even though he appeared to have been hit on the shoulder as he…

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