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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Shaqiri Ready For Windsor Park Test

Xherdan Shaqiri

XHERDAN SHAQIRI was in confident mood as he set out Switzerland’s World Cup ambitions ahead of their crucial two-legged Play-Off with Northern Ireland.

The Potters playmaker is likely to be a pivotal role for his country as they look to secure a spot in next summer’s showpiece Finals in Russia, having agonisingly missed out on automatic qualification.

Despite chalking up an outstanding 27 points from 10 qualifying fixtures, they were pipped to top spot by Portugal on goal difference, meaning they now have to overcome Michael O’Neill’s men.

They travel to Belfast for the first leg this evening, before playing host to the Group C runners-up in Basel on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking to the media ahead of the clash, he said: “A play-off is a 50:50 game. It is going to be very level and nothing will be decided until the very last minute.

“Having said that, I think it could be an advantage to play at home in the second game - in case of extra time, for example, and to hopefully have a World Cup qualification celebration party at home.

“We know that we somehow have to press the reset button and get ready to stand up to Northern Ireland at Windsor Park first."

“Every single member of the Swiss team and staff wants to play at the World Cup in Russia.”

He added: “We know that we have the qualities to do so, but we must bring all our power on the pitch and prove that we deserve to be there.”

The clash at Windsor Park this evening gets underway at 7:45pm, with the game being screened live on Sky Sports Main Event.