Switzerland saw off Northern Ireland to seal a berth in the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a drab 0-0 second-leg draw on Sunday which culminated in a 1-0 aggregate play-off victory.

Vladimir Petkovic's side were better on the day despite numerous wasted first-half chances. The Northern Irish stayed in the tie, but Ricardo Rodriguez's controversial first-leg penalty in Belfast proved enough for the Swiss to reach their fourth consecutive World Cup.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill blamed the referee for his horrendous gaffe in the first leg, which left the visitors with a mountain to climb coming into Switzerland. NI were bidding to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986.

Rodriguez proved to be the key man yet again as he made a last-ditch clearance off the line to deny NI after Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer failed to cut out a corner. This was after Rodriguez had calmly converted the hugely controversial penalty awarded in the first leg, which turned out to be the difference between the two sides.

In another game, Croatia confirmed their place after holding Greece to a goalless draw at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Athens to complete a convincing aggregate victory. Croatia beat the 2004 Euro Winners 4-1 in the first leg which had made the second leg a mere formality for both sides.

Despite the insignificant nature of the tie, it was Croatia who came closest to scoring, as Ivan Perisic rattled the post in the first half.

In the final round of qualifying, Italy look to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Sweden, while Denmark and Republic of Ireland have all to play for with the first leg ending in a goalless draw.