It was nearly 38 years to the day on when Northern Ireland beat Spain in the 1982 World Cup in Valencia. Gerry Armstrong scored the only goal in front of a full-house at the Estadio Luis Casanova to win the group for Northern Ireland. An historic victory that lives on in fans mind to this day. The new crop wanted to forge new memories for their loyal support.
Unfortunately Northern Ireland were up against it in the first twenty minutes as they went a goal down to a Switzerland team that seemed to have an extra kick in their step. Fassnacht combined with Breel Embolo to send the Swiss faithful into frenzy. The international team have only appeared at four UEFA European Championships, between 1996 and 2016, never making it past the last 16. They now could smell a looming victory.
The relentlessness shown by Switzerland was evident as only five minutes later they went two up. A brilliant solo effort by Steffen seen him edge into the right side of the Northern territory, before blasting it in the opposite corner of the goal.
Not content with leading by two goals going into the break, Breel Embolo made Mati Zyech’s halftime team talk, adding a third goal to further disappoint the travelling Norn Iron support.
Within the first few moments of the second half restarting, Shaqiri picked the ball up in his own and scored what has to be considered a goal of the tournament. Leaving five Northern Ireland players in his wake before slotting home Switzerland’s fourth. Another two wonderful goals from Steffen and Embolo booked Switzerland into the quarter finals for the first time in there history.
Northern Ireland manager Brian Walsh spoke about the speed of Switzerland being to much for his lads to handle, as they can now only remember fondly that day in 1982 and not 2020.