Football/Soccer

World Cup dream remains alive insists NI skipper Steven Davis

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis during the 2018 World Cup play-off first leg match against Switzerland.

THE World Cup dream remains alive, insists Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis, even though they must beat Switzerland tonight to have any change of reaching Russia 2018.

"That's the biggest thing we've got to realise," pointed out the 32-year-old: "We've all dreamed of getting to the World Cup and we're 90 minutes from doing that irrespective of the other night. We've got to go out and do our all.

"Any frustration we have, we must use as fuel, motivation. It's going to be difficult, their home form is strong, but we believe we can play better than we did the other night."

Davis accepted that the task might strangely be easier now, despite the 1-0 deficit, as the visitors know they have to win:

"I think so, possibly. We're in a position where all the pressure is on Switzerland, we've got nothing to lose, so we have to use that to our advantage."

Continuing the theme of positivity, he wants his team to be more proactive tonight than they were during the first leg in Belfast on Thursday:

"Maybe we were a little cautious the other night, we have to be braver in possession and pressing, but of course it's evenly balanced even at 1-0.

"A lot can happen in 90 minutes, we have to try and approach the game in that way, get more pressure on the ball when we don't have it, take more responsibility on the ball ourselves. It's important we get the balance right and I believe we have the confidence to do that."

The Southampton midfielder accepted that this could be a career-defining game, saying: "Of course we think about it. All of us as young players growing up have always dreamt of that stage, playing at a World Cup would be the pinnacle of everyone's career.

"We understand the magnitude. We've put ourselves in a great position to get to the play-offs but we're playing a difficult team, a strong team and we have to go out there and give it our all.

"There's 90 minutes left and we've got to try and cause them problems. We've got it all to gain".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: