Michael O'Neill "could not be any prouder" of Northern Ireland players

13 November, 2017, 02:43 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • Granit Xhaka of Switzerland and Northern Ireland's Steven Davis

The QPR striker won't be heading to Russian Federation next summer after Northern Ireland failed to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit in Basel.

The tie was decided by Ricardo Rodriguez's controversial penalty in Belfast as Michael O'Neill's team failed in their bid to reach back-to-back major tournaments for the first time.

This will be Switzerland's 11th qualification to the FIFA World Cup after making their debut at the second edition in Italy in 1934.

The Norn Iron World Cup hero was on co-commentary duty again on Sunday night in Switzerland, and once again all Twitter could talk about was Armstrong and his comically one-sided views which gave the neutrals watching at home some extra entertainment during an exciting game.

The first half was frantic and exhilarating in extremely sodden conditions, but Northern Ireland could count themselves more than a little lucky to remain only a goal down on aggregate at the break, with Haris Seferovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber all seeing fine chances spurned in a dominant display. I think we were the better team. "We had to suffer to the end, especially with this chance Northern Ireland had". To discuss whether it was a penalty or not, it's not interesting for us and in the end it was a decision by the referee.

More news: Melania visits Great Wall, Beijing Zoo

Looking forward to the finals, he said: "We want to go as far as possible".

"We don't really set limits for us".

The set-ball specialist is one of Europe's top left backs although he now finds himself in a struggling AC Milan side and had the misfortune to give away a decisive penalty when they lost the Milan derby last month. The players are devastated but I couldn't be any prouder.

"We don't always have top-level players but we've got top-level characters and you saw that tonight".

"For some of these players it's unlikely the World Cup will come round again", he said.

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