WORLD CUP: Chris Brunt believes NI dream is still alive

Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Switzerland's Fabian Schar
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Switzerland's Fabian Schar

Northern Ireland’s Chris Brunt is sure Michael O’Neill’s men will go down fighting in Basel on Sunday night.

Brunt and his team mates lost the first leg of their play-off for the World Cup Finals in Russia next summer 1-0 to Switzerland at the International Stadium at Windsor Park on Thursday night.

The Swiss’ winner in Belfast came from a controversial penalty in the 58th minute - when Corry Evans was wrongly adjudged to have handled the ball in his own box.

The 1-0 defeat leaves O’Neill’s men with a mountain to climb in Basel but Brunt says they will go their looking to get the victory that will secure their place in Russia.

“We are going to have to go over there and score goals. We have a mountain to climb but we’re capable of going over there and winning.

“It is not something we are incapable of doing – hopefully we can go out there and give a good account of ourselves and make sure we leave everything out on the pitch.”

And the West Brom player says they have been boosted by the way they finished the game against the Swiss in the first leg.

“I think we were a lot better in the second half than we were in the first.

“I didn’t think we did very well with the ball in the first half.

“When they go 1-0 up the game gets a bit stretched. I suppose if you flip it they could have done a bit better on the break than what they did.

“We have to take the game to them on Sunday night – the last 10 , 15 minutes at Windsor we put them under a bit of pressure and hopefully that showed they are a bit vulnerable so we’ll see how we get on,” said Brunt.

Brunt knows they will have to up their game from the game at Windsor.

“We could have played a lot better ourselves, we didn’t make the most of our opportunities which was disappointing especially from set pieces, which we are usually so strong from.

“Credit to them they defended well, and I’m sure they’ll be delighted to leave with a win.”

Brunt did not want to comment on the penalty in Belfast but he was gutted foCorry Evans who is suspended for tomorrow’s game after picking up a yellow card .

“We are disappointed, I don’t think it was a great decision but what can you say?

“Obviously you can’t say too much without getting into trouble but I’ve seen it on the replay and it’s hit his back and not on the arm at all.

“Nobody in the ground thought it a penalty but the one man who counts gave it and then Rodriguez tucked it away.

“All to play for on Sunday night – we are going to have to come out and have a go,” he added.