Northern Ireland penalty against Switzerland

Northern Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals lie in tatters this morning after a penalty decision that Sunday League referees will be laughing at right now.

Around 15 minutes into the second half, the game against Switzerland was finely balanced, with both teams putting on an excellent defensive display. But all that was about to change.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri fired in a shot which was seemingly well blocked by Corry Evans. But despite the ball appearing to hit Evans’ back, and with the defender’s arms by his sides, the referee awarded a ridiculous penalty.

What do you think?

Not only did Corry have his protestations waved away, he was booked for his troubles — which means he’ll miss the return leg in Switzerland.

Of course, Ricardo Rodriguez tucked the penalty away, and Switzerland managed to keep Northern Ireland at bay for the rest of the match. Michael O’Neill’s boys now face a monumental task to save their World Cup dream.

Penalties in the game are bringing football into disrepute. If cheating millionaires aren’t rolling around the box at the merest breath of wind, they’re screaming at referees for favourable decisions.

The sooner that video evidence is introduced for all penalty decisions the better.

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