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Northern Ireland eager to end 32-year World Cup hiatus

Northern Ireland will host Switzerland on Thursday evening, where Jamie Ward and Paddy McNair are expected to return to full fitness.

Northern Ireland soccer team. Picture: @FIFAWorldCup.

JOHANNESBURG - Northern Ireland will face a stern European World Cup playoff contest against Switzerland as they bid to end a 32-year long hiatus from football showpiece.

Northern Ireland will host Switzerland at Windsor Park on Thursday evening, where striker Jamie Ward and defender Paddy McNair are expected to return to full fitness.

West Bromwich Albion defender, Jonny Evans, is also available after recovering from a groin injury.

The Irish have a better head-to-head record over their Swizz rivals. In four encounters between the two sides, Northern Ireland have beaten Switzerland twice, losing once and drawing the other encounter.

In the other European World Cup qualifier, Greece takes on Croatia at the Maksimir Stadium, both games kick-off at 21h45.