Switzerland, Croatia heading to World Cup

Switzerland and Croatia became the latest nations to qualify for the World Cup on Sunday after earning goalless draws in the second legs of their World Cup playoffs.

Switzerland 0 Northern Ireland 0

Michael O’Neill’s side were looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Belfast on Friday, but the Swiss were just as dominant in the second leg and had numerous chances to score on the night.

The first half was a breath-taking affair as the hosts piled on the pressure and created the majority of the chances.

But Northern Ireland threatened first on four minutes when Chris Brunt’s strike from 25 yards out was expertly saved by Yann Sommer.

Vladimir Petkovic’s men should have broken the deadlock two minutes later, but Haris Seferovic somehow headed wide from six yards out.

The Swiss continued to ask questions, with Xherdan Shaqiri testing Michael McGovern with a low shot on 25 minutes.

However, Northern Ireland almost levelled the tie from a swift counter on 54 minutes as Jamie Ward’s inch-perfect cross was glanced narrowly wide of the goal by Conor Washington.

Greece 0 Croatia 0

Croatia made it through to their fifth World Cup after playing out a stalemate in Pireus in a game of few chances.

A shot from Ivan Perisic that hit the post from 30 yards was the nearest either team got to scoring, although Greece should have been awarded a penalty when Zeca was fouled by Ivan Strinic.

Dimitrios Pelkas had the ball in the net for Greece in the 79th minute, but his effort was ruled out for offside as Zlatko Dalic’s side qualified in comfort.