It was Ricardo Rodriguez who stepped up in Belfast and converted from the spot after Corry Evans was inexplicably adjudged to have handled in the area.
Northern Ireland had very few chances to score, with both of their decent ones coming at either end of the match. He almost forced extra time with a header, but Ricardo Rodriguez came up with a heroic clearance to seal Switzerland's place in the World Cup.
"We will take it match by match, opponent by opponent and we're not setting any limits".
So to have got this far, to the brink of the World Cup, must be a great source of pride for these players, staff and fans, although of course there were plenty of tears at the final whistle.
Twitter user James Lorenzo created a "supercut" from just the final 20 minutes of the second leg to give you an idea as to what you missed.
Xhaka said: "I don't know why it is such a big topic and why there is so much discussion about it". We don't always have top-level players but we have top-level characters.
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This should have helped Northern Ireland and they started with their direct purposeful football, making the most of Conor Washington's willingness to run himself into the mud.
"We are a good team, I think we are a better team than Northern Ireland, and tomorrow with all the fans and all the support we have here, we want to make them proud and we want to qualify for Russian Federation".
The Swiss finally awoke as Haris Seferovic glanced Xherdan Shaqiri's cross wide and Blerim Dzemaili's drive across the six-yard box was diverted over by Gareth McAuley's outstretched leg.
"Quite honestly, in the end no one is interested how this game against Northern Ireland was", Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaxa said.
Michael O'Neill's men gained momentum as the second period progressed and subjected Switzerland to spells of pressure in the final 30 minutes. Evans got up at the far post, heading towards goal, but Rodriguez volleyed it off the line.