Switzerland kept their word and thanked Northern Ireland for helping them to reach the World Cup – by sending the team chocolate.
In one of the sweeter football stories of the week, Switzerland posted a video to social media on Wednesday showing head coach Murat Yakin boxing up some confectionery treats to send to Belfast.
It was their way of showing their gratitude for Northern Ireland’s goalless draw with Italy in the final round of European World Cup qualifying group games, a result that, combined with Switzerland’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria, saw Yakin’s men seal their place at Qatar 2022.
Ian Baraclough’s side are to receive 9.3 kilograms of Swiss chocolate in recognition of preventing the European champions from scoring for 93 minutes.
— Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) November 24, 2021
Switzerland had previously promised a gift after initially paying tribute in their post-match celebrations at the team hotel in Lucerne, where they sung Sweet Caroline, the 1969 Neil Diamond hit that has become a staple song at Northern Ireland matches.
The Euro 2020 quarter-finalists drew 1-1 with Italy in their penultimate qualifier, in which Jorginho missed a 90th-minute penalty for the Azzurri. That result ensured they were able to finish two points clear at the top of Group C after the final round of games.
Italy, meanwhile, must now contend the play-offs alongside teams including Portugal, Sweden, Wales and Russia. The draw for the semi-finals takes place on Friday.
— Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) November 16, 2021