Davis analyses play-off against Switzerland

Ahead of Northern Ireland’s World Cup play-off against Switzerland, captain Steven Davis is gearing up for the battle in midfield.

Thursday’s match in Belfast will be the first of the two-legged encounter for a place at Russia 2018, with Davis set to earn his 100th cap against a very capable Swiss outfit.

@fifaworldcup Play-Off week is upon us!! ???⚽️ #DreamBigger #GAWA #NorthernIreland #WorldCup #Russia2018

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"From seeing some early analysis of them, they're clearly very comfortable in possession," Davis said. "They like to build up from the back and play through the lines.

"It's going to be a difficult game. If you look at their results in qualifying, they were very unfortunate not to qualify automatically for the World Cup.

"The biggest thing for us is going to be getting that balance right, between pressing and cutting off the lines for them to play through.

"If we can do that, we know we've got the quality to hurt them, and there are weaknesses we can exploit."

The Swiss midfield includes Premier League stars such as Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri, Valon Behrami of Udinese, and experienced Montreal Impact enforcer Blerim Dzemaili.

Northern Ireland’s midfield three in their most recent match against Norway saw Davis feature alongside Corry Evans of Blackburn Rovers and Fulham’s Oliver Norwood.

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