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Dublin: 6°C Sunday 28 February 2021


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Good evening everybody, you’re very welcome along to our coverage of tonight’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier between Ireland and Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium.

It’s a glorious day in Dublin. It’s lovely and warm, the sun is shining and by all means it’s a perfect evening for a meaty Shane Duffy header to bag three points and help us take a massive step towards qualification. Hmm… Well, maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Make no bones about it though, tonight’s qualifier is absolutely massive. Mick McCarthy’s men have gotten off to a brilliant start this campaign. Wins over Gibraltar, Georgia, a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Denmark and another victory over Gibraltar sees the Boys in Green standing tall with 10 points from 12.

We’re top of the table and in firm control of Group D. Switzerland present Ireland’s first major test on home soil, up against a fellow competitor for automatic qualification. If McCarthy’s side want to top the group, they will need to be beating the likes of Switzerland and Denmark in Dublin on their own turf.

mick-mccarthy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Would a draw be an acceptable result tonight all things considered? Probably, yes. But it only prolongs the need to bag a big, important win against either the Danes or the Swiss. We travel to Geneva on 15 October and face a massive, final test against Denmark in Dublin on 18 November.

Three points here would put Ireland in an incredible position approaching the final stretch this campaign. Switzerland, albeit without the threat of Xherdan Shaqiri, are regulars at international competitions.

They always do well in the FIFA World Rankings (if that counts for anything) and currently have a squad filled with Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A regulars. Granit Xhaka is there too.

It promises to be a massive night of entertaining action. Stick with us, kick-off at the Aviva is coming up in just over an hour’s time at 7.45pm.

Let’s get started with the team news…

TEAM NEWS: There are no real surprises as Mick McCarthy confirms his starting XI for this evening’s game. A solid back four comprised of Enda Stevens, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman, a midfield trio of Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Hourihane, and a front three of James McClean, David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson.

There were rumblings that John Egan, in fine form for Sheffield United, and Alan Judge, who delivered the assist for Shane Duffy’s equaliser against Denmark, could find their way into the starting XI. But both men must be content with a spot on the bench as McCarthy opts for his tried and trusted lieutenants.

It’s a strong, dependable side, particularly at the back. David McGoldrick has been very impressive knitting midfield and attack together since taking the reigns from Shane Long this campaign. Callum Robinson, too, will add a little bit more firepower. His confidence will be sky high after finding the net against Chelsea last weekend.

Glenn Whelan will guide Ireland in midfield again. He has a new home up at Hearts this season and will hope to replicate a measured and impressive performance at home against Georgia back in March when the Boys in Green ran out 1-0 winners.

Ireland: Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman (c), Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh, Enda Stevens; Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane; Callum Robinson, Jeff Hendrick, James McClean; David McGoldrick.

Substitutes: Kieran O’Hara, Mark Travers, Cyrus Christie, Alan Browne, Scott Hogan, John Egan, Ronan Curtis, Callum O’Dowda, Alan Judge, Josh Cullen, Kevin Long, James Collins.

Switzerland: Yann Sommer; Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji; Kevin Mbabu, Denis Zakaria, Granit Xhaka, Remo Freuler, Ricardo Rodriguez; Breel Embolo, Haris Seferović.

Substitutes: Yvon Mvogo, Jonas Omlin, Jacques François Moubandje, Silvan Widmer, Renato Steffen, Eray Cümart, Albian Ajeti, Christian Fassnacht, Admir Mehmedi, Mario Gavranović, Edimilson Fernandes, Loris Benito.

Plenty of pre-game reading material ahead of kick-off:

Right, 45 minutes to go before kick-off as the sun starts to go down in the capital. How do you see tonight’s game going? Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Draw (344)
Ireland win (301)
Switzerland win (128)

The last time Mick McCarthy faced Switzerland, the Boys in Green suffered a 2-1 defeat at the old Lansdowne Road. McCarthy departed his role as manager shortly afterwards.

One man who featured in that Euro 2004 qualifier was Thomas Butler. The42′s Gavin Cooney caught up with him for an in-depth chat last week to relive his memories of his short, two-cap Ireland career, as well everything in-between.

A piece well worth your time before kick-off:

thomas-butler Thomas Butler played against Switzerland in a Euro 2004 qualifier which proved to be Mick McCarthy's final game in charge during his first spell as Ireland boss. Source: INPHO

The national anthems have been belted out and we’re just a few moments away now. A cracking atmosphere at Lansdowne Road tonight for a massive, massive qualifier.

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF: We’re underway at the Aviva Stadium for the first half!


A hairy moment for Switzerland with less than 30 seconds on the clock. There’s a mix-up between defender Manuel Akanji and his goalkeeper Yann Sommer, which results in an early Ireland corner. Conor Hourihane swings it into the box, but the ball is headed clear.


A good passage of play from the visitors down the other end. Breel Embolo pulls back into space and tries to feed a clever though ball into striker Haris Seferovic, but the pass is overhit and peters wide for a goal-kick to Ireland.

ireland-huddle-before-the-game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


Vladimir Petković’s side enjoying a decent spell of possession deep inside Ireland’s half, but Enda Stevens wins back possession, picks out Jeff Hendrick and the Burnley man starts to recycle possession again calmly.


Almost a chance for Switzerland. Kevin Mbabu delivers a dangerous ball into the box. Shane Duffy completely mis-times his jump to try and head the ball clear, but thankfully Breel Embolo’s first touch lets him down and allows Ireland to scramble clear.


Good defensive play from James McClean there. He intercepts a good pass behind enemy lines seeking Ricardo Rodriguez. McClean gets out in front, runs away with possession and is fouled by Rodriguez to earn Ireland a free out.


A mishap from Richard Keogh earns Switzerland a needless corner. The Derby centre back just completely mistimed his clearance, but thankfully Rodriguez’s cross is absoutely woeful. His corner swung in flies over everyone’s heads and back out for a goal-kick. Cue sarcastic cheers from the Ireland fans.

breel-embolo-with-richard-keogh Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


Chance! A big opportunity for Ireland. Some lovely footwork from Jeff Hendrick and a lay-off from Callum Robinson sees James McClean latch onto the ball and steam into the box. He didn’t seem to be asking for the pass initially and — as a result — his control let him down. The winger eventually got his shot off, but it was a weak, tame effort from McClean which rolled into the arms of goalkeeper Sommer.


Enda Stevens is given a yellow card for a high foot on Kevin Mbabu. It’s definitely a booking, no doubt about it, with Stevens’ leg connecting with his opponent’s neck as the defender tried to bring a high ball down. That booking means Stevens will now miss Ireland’s qualifier with Georgia in Tbilisi.


David McGoldrick almost races through on goal, but is called back for a foul on Nico Elvedi. The striker did really well to put pressure on Elvedi when he received the ball at the back, but the Sheffield United man did push his opponent to the ground in the process.


A let-off for Ireland there. Enda Stevens plays the ball back to Darren Randolph in goal, but his pass is slightly under-hit. Haris Seferovic sprints to close down the Ireland goalkeeper, and Randolph does well to get there first and hoof it up the pitch.

bertie-ahern Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO


Important defending there from Ireland. Shane Duffy blocks a left-footed shot from Seferovic inside the box, Switzerland regain possession and Richard Keogh heads clear a second time. The ball is again recycled and crossed back in, but Randolph comes from his line to punch clear.


Good opportunity for Ricardo Rodriguez, but he hits a poor effort well wide. The chance came after Breel Embolo’s long throw-in was headed clear by Shane Duffy. Duffy’s clearance fell on a plate for Rodriguez to have a pop, but he shanked his shot and it petered wide of the target.


Glenn Whelan is pulled back for a cynical foul just outside the box. Granit Xhaka takes command of the free, but his strike takes a deflection off the Ireland wall and flies wide for a Swiss corner kick, which comes to nothing.


Denis Zakaria finds time and space outside the box. He tees himself up for a shot and slams a powerful, right-footed effort on target. But Darren Randolph sees it early and makes the save.

denis-zakaria-with-glenn-whelan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


David McGoldrick takes possession in a good position on the edge of the box. He twists onto his left boot and gets a shot away, but it’s a weak effort which trickles towards goal and is rather easily gathered by Yann Sommer.


Ricardo Rodriguez lets fly with a long-range strike from distance, but it balloons well and truly over the bar. Poor Rodriguez just hasn’t had his shooting boots on today at all, which has been to Ireland’s benefit. That’s a number of chances he’s failed to put away now.


A nice passage of passing play involving Enda Stevens, Glenn Whelan, James McClean and Seamus Coleman receives a warm round of applause from the home supporters. Measured passing under pressure there rather than just lumping it long.


A brilliant free-kick is curled into the box from Conor Hourihane. It’s a perfect delivery which only needs the slightest of touches to find the back of the net, but McGoldrick and Robinson can’t get to it despite their best efforts, and the ball flies wide for a goal kick.

fabin-schar-with-glenn-whelan Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


Shane Duffy with yet another important clearance. The Brighton defender gets out in front of Breel Embolo and fires a meaty header into Row Z. Duffy’s head must be made of concrete.


David McGoldrick with a big chance for Ireland late on. He finds time and space sprinting down the right wing. He tries to pick out James McClean with a cross aimed towards the back post on the opposite side, but the pass it overhit. A big opportunity passed up.


There will be one minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half.



Spanish referee Carlos Del Cerro blows his whistle at the Aviva and it’s half-time. No goals between the sides and any pre-game predications of a draw are bang-on as things stand.

Truth be told, Switzerland have been on top so far. Seferovic, Embolo and Rodriguez have had plenty of chances between them up front, but have failed to take any of them up against Duffy, Keogh and Darren Randolph, who have performed well for Ireland.

David McGoldrick has been a little isolated up front, but Ireland have had chances against the run of play now and again. But, much like the Swiss, Mick McCarthy’s men have failed to be clinical when it mattered.

darren-randolph-makes-a-save-from-haris-seferovic Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Vladimir Petković’s men have enjoyed the most chances and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but his side do still look a little suspect at the back when put under the slightest little bit of pressure.

A side which relinquished a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Denmark, they are not completely bullet proof and certainly can be got at by McGoldrick and Callum Robinson.

More action to come shortly!


Good start to the second half from Ireland here, pushing Switzerland deep and trying to cause a little bit of panic via Conor Hourihane and David McGoldrick. Mick McCarthy said earlier this week that he would have taken a draw tonight. Will Ireland sit back or go for the win here?


A decent passage of passing play from Ireland. The move starts with Enda Stevens on the left and sees Glenn Whelan sweep the ball across to Seamus Coleman. He tries to take on his man one-on-one, but Fabian Schaer comes out on top and wins a throw-in.

jeff-hendrick-with-fabin-schar Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Fabian Schaer sprints through midfield, diverting past Glenn Whelan easily, and decides to have a go at goal. He sizes up the chance and lets fly on his right boot, but the defender’s effort flies well and truly over the bar. A poor strike.


A big let-off for Ireland on the counter-attack. Jeff Hendrick lost possession on the edge of the Swiss box, resulting in Breel Embolo racing through from one end of the pitch to the other. He picks out Remo Freuler, but his shot is gathered by Darren Randlolph. Good defending from Enda Stevens was enough to put him off there.


Free-kick in a dangerous position for the Swiss. Granit Xhaka whips a dangerous ball right into the mixer, but Richard Keogh gets his head in the way and steers the ball away from danger. Really brave defending from Keogh there.


A first substitution of the evening for Ireland. Callum Robinson makes way and he is replaced up front by Alan Judge, who did so well against Denmark to win the free (and cross it in) for Shane Duffy’s late, great equaliser. Here’s hoping he can have a similar impact tonight.

callum-robinson-reacts-to-a-missed-chance Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Richard Keogh appeared to take a bit of a knock there. He went off to receive some medical attention from Dr Alan Byrne on the touchline, but a few moments later the Derby defender returned to the field of play again. He seems okay to continue.


A big chance for Switzerland goes begging. Breel Embolo is picked out thanks to a brilliant little pass from Remo Freuler. Embolo had evaded every Ireland defender and had the goal at his mercy, but the forward completely lost his footing and slipped — allowing the ball to trickle wide. What a chance.


Really important defending from Alan Judge there. A cross towards the back post looked dangerous seeking Haris Seferovic, but Judge managed to race back and head the ball clear. Crucial interception from Judge, with Ireland under a lot of pressure at the moment.


Another chance for Switzerland. Kevin Mbabu goes untracked at the back post and has a free pop at goal, but the defender fails to make proper contact and his shot flies high into the night’s sky. It’s just wave after wave of Swiss attacks right now.

james-mcclean-with-kevin-mbabu Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO


A better spell from Ireland at the moment. David McGoldrick drops deep and tries to knit play together. It’s a good move, looking dangerous, but it’s stopped dead in its tracks as Alan Judge is flagged for offside. Very frustrating.


Another attack for Ireland, this time Judge is played into a good position in space down the right wing. He tries to send in a cross, attempting to bend and curl the ball into the box. But Judge’s delivery is awful, ending up in the stands behind the goal.


There’s a bit of a confrontation between Seamus Coleman and Haris Seferovic following a rash challenge on Shane Duffy, which left the defender looking in quite a bit of pain. Referee Carlos Del Cerro brings Coleman and Seferovic together and restores calm. It seemed to get quite heated there between the two players.

Flag 74Mins


Switzerland take the lead! It’s a massive setback for Ireland but full credit to the visitors, it’s a lovely, well put together finish. Passes between Denis Zakaria and Breel Embolo pull the Irish defence apart, allowing Fabian Schär the space to have a go. He strikes low on his right boot and finds the bottom corner to make it 1-0.


That goal sucked the life out of the Aviva for a few moments there, deflating the atmosphere as the travelling Swiss supporters reeled away in celebration behind Darren Randolph’s goal. A massive uphill battle for Mick McCarthy’s men now with about 13 minutes of normal time remaining.


A chance for Ireland to try and equalise. Enda Stevens beats his man and crosses towards the back post, but Jeff Hendrick is penalised for a shove and it’s a free-out for Switzerland.


Ten minutes left on the clock at the Aviva Stadium. Switzerland still very much on top looking for a second goal to put this game to bed. McCarthy’s men struggling to get back on the ball to try and carve out some late chances for McGoldrick and Judge up front.


A second substitution for Ireland. Scott Hogan comes on for the final few minutes, replacing his former Aston Villa team-mate Conor Hourihane. Ireland with two strikers up top now in search of a late equaliser.


Off the crossbar! Glenn Whelan almost grabs a stunning equaliser. He let’s fly with an almighty effort from distance which smacks the woodwork. What a goal that would have been, so close for Ireland!

Flag 85Mins


It’s there! Ireland grab a late equaliser and it’s first international goal for David McGoldrick. James McClean grabs the ball out wide on the left and crosses towards the box. His delivery takes a deflection, but it still falls invitingly for McGoldrick to head on target — which he does — a lovely header which nestles into the top corner. All square!


The atmosphere is absoutely rocking inside the Aviva Stadium now, McGoldrick’s equaliser raising everbody’s spirits. Where Switzerland once looked like grabbing a second, now Ireland are on top looking for a late winner. What a turnaround.


Mick McCarthy’s men are piling forward now with just a minute or two of normal time to go. Jeff Hedrick wins a free-kick as the visitors make a switch, Remo Freuler replaced by Admir Mehmedi.


There will be five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half.

A third and final switch for Ireland. Goalscorer David McGoldrick receives a standing ovation (not for the first time) after scoring his first international goal. He is replaced by Alan Browne for the last couple of minutes.

david-mcgoldrick-celebrates-scoring-a-goal-with-alan-judge Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Important piece of defensive work by Richard Keogh. Jeff Hendrick struggled to hold onto possession, threatening a counter-attack down the right trying to pick out Haris Seferovic making a dangerous run. Keogh reads the danger nice and early, though, sliding the ball out for a throw-in.


There will be one last chance for Ireland. Alan Judge is taken out by Granit Xhaka just inside the Swiss half. A free-kick in a promising position in the final minute of stoppage time. Shane Duffy is going up for the free. Here we go…

The free comes to nothing and that should be that. Duffy tried to head on goal and appeared to connect with Swiss Yann Sommer after the goalkeeper had caught the ball. The Ireland defender and Fabian Schär both receive a booking for squaring up to one another.



The referee blows his whistle for full-time and it’s all over at the Aviva. A point each and, all things considered, that’s a good result for Mick McCarthy’s men.

Switzerland dominated possession and chances created. They took the lead thanks to a well-worked goal from defender Fabian Schär, but David McGoldrick levelled proceedings with just five minutes to go with his first international goal.

david-mcgoldrick-celebrates-scoring-the-equalising-goal Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The point keeps Ireland top of Group D after five games with 11 points. Next up for the Boys in Green is a friendly against Bulgaria here on Tuesday, before taking on Georgia in Tbilisi on 15 October.

Thanks a million for joining us this evening. You can read Paul Dollery’s on-the-whistle match report here and you can also find Gavin Cooney’s player ratings here too. Until next time, cya!

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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