In a land famed for rich, luxurious chocolate, being referred to as "milky" may not prove too popular with the Swiss ahead of tonight's Euro 2020 qualifier against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Leading 3-0 in their most recent qualifier against fellow group favourites, Denmark, with more than 80 minutes on the clock, Switzerland somehow conspired to ship three goals in eight minutes to drop two vital points in their quest to qualify for next summer’s tournament.

"How the score ended up 3-3 is beyond me," said Ireland manager Mick McCarthy earlier this week.

"Did they get a bit milky at the end? Did they get a bit carried away? Did they get over-confident?"

The lexicon of Yorkshire slang does not throw up an immediate definition of the term, but to speak in the parlance of tea, you might imagine that the manager saw it as perhaps a trait of weakness.

There were defensive frailties, no doubt, as the Danes scored three late goals, but they came at a stage of the game where the Swiss thought they were home and hosed and had taken off the influential Granit Xhaka with the game seemingly won at 3-0.

Panic in the Swiss defence against Denamrk

And while much has been said about the key players that are missing this week, most notably Xherdan Shaqiri, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Steven Zuber, Switzerland still travel with real quality and experience for the Dublin clash.

While Ireland rejoiced at the draw for these Euro 2020 qualifiers, avoiding the real heavy hitters in European football, there really should really be no perception that the two sides are evenly matched going into this fixture.

The Swiss drew with Brazil in the last World Cup, qualified for the knock-out stages, beating Serbia en route, while they also featured at and qualified for the knock-out phase of Euro 2016 and the 2014 World Cup.

More recently, and more relevant, of course, the Swiss won their Nations League A group, putting five past Belgium and six past Iceland as they qualified for last summer’s inaugural finals.

They took all that form into the current campaign, kicking off with an impressive 2-0 away win in Georgia, before cruising into a 3-0 lead against Denmark right up to those final stages.

So apart from those eight minutes of madness, the Swiss record is pretty impressive since Vladimir Petkovic took over in 2014, and the current head coach boasts a 61 per cent winning record.

But there is no disputing what they lose from their side when you take Shaqiri out of the equation.

Mick McCarthy with his players at Abbotstown

Ireland manager McCarthy tried his best not to get too excited about his withdrawal but did reveal how he feels it will be a lot easier to prepare to play a team without the star man, rather than one with him in it.

"He can drift in and out of games and then he has that wanderlust, that wonderful [style where] he wanders about the pitch and suddenly he explodes and he does something magnificent," said McCarthy earlier this week.

But still the challenge remains a tough one for Ireland as Switzerland will no doubt believe in their attacking style and come to play against Ireland, driven on by Xhaka in midfield, and capable of attacking through the middle or up either flank.

Breel Embolo is likely to be named in the starting XI in place of Shaqiri and the Borussia Mönchengladbach striker will play a more advanced role than the Liverpool man, linking up with the ever-dangerous Haris Seferovic in attack.

Benefica striker Seferovic scored a hat-trick in the 5-2 victory over Belgium and has started all four league games for Benfica this season in the Portuguese top flight.

Ireland’s record so far in the group essentially mirrors that of Switzerland with a win against Georgia and a draw with Denmark. The six additional points that Ireland have accrued came courtesy of Gibraltar so in essence the teams are level going into the Dublin fixture.

Switzerland have been maintaining an element of momentum for the past six years, as they have remained high in the FIFA rankings.

Ireland’s momentum is relatively new-found following a disastrous 2018 and as a result, there may be that additional exuberance bubbling around the Ireland camp ahead of the game.

The result in Denmark coupled with the manner of victory against Georgia will offer real belief for McCarthy’s men heading into this one, and it should be enough to put the home side on the front foot from the early stages of this game.

McCarthy will again name a familiar side and that sense of continuity will also stand to his side taking on such a tough task tonight.

Switzerland, on the other hand, will surely sit back to a certain extent in the opening exchanges in an effort to knock the confidence out of the Irish and quieten the crowd, and should they succeed, they will gradually impose their style on the game.

Asked whether the Swiss were beatable, McCarthy answered in the affirmative but added that it was not something that he would say to his team.

"Telling them that, it almost seems like I've been thinking they are unbeatable. I'm trying to convince them of something I've been thinking otherwise, which I'm not," explained McCarthy.

There is a twisted logic to what the manager is saying, of course, but for Ireland to win this encounter, several factors are going to have to be in play throughout this vital qualifier.

That belief and front foot approach must be maintained, whether Ireland go a goal behind or a goal ahead.  Such tactics will inevitably lift the atmosphere around the arena in an attempt to create another memorable home win at the Lansdowne Road arena.

And a realistic approach is also needed to beat a quality team like Switzerland, which means that Ireland will need to be dominant with their set-piece plays.

Shane Duffy popped up to rescue a point for Ireland away to Denmark

Vital goals have come from this route already in the campaign with Hourihane’s free-kick against Georgia and Duffy’s header in Copenhagen.

And Switzerland will be wary of such an approach, knowing the strengths of Ireland in such areas, while also realising that they have that defensive frailty to be mindful of.

Another thing McCarthy was asked during the week was whether he would take a point in this game, and while he stressed that his side were going out to win this game, he eventually acknowledged that it would be good to remain unbeaten.

Speaking to Swiss journalists ahead of the game, a cautious confidence existed in their perceptions of how the game will play out.

But there is certainly something not quite right in the Swiss mood heading into this vital clash, started by Shaqiri’s withdrawal and continued in the pre-match press conference with lots of questions about the hierarchy in the squad.

A good time to play the Swiss might be a valid surmisal heading into this Group D clash in Dublin, and if Ireland play to their potential, McCarthy’s men could certainly make a giant stride towards next year’s tournament.

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