Team Profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
It's almost 20 years since the Dayton Agreement brought an end to the three-year war that displaced half the population of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The country remains blighted by ethnic divisions and unemployment of over 25%, yet World Cup qualification offers some hope: "A few years ago you couldn't imagine Bosnian Serbs or Croats supporting the team but that's changed," says coach Safet Susic.
Despite being the only World Cup debutants, Bosnia are odds-on with most bookies to reach the last 16 thanks to their attacking firepower and technical ability. Their cavalier tactics in qualifying - a 4-4-2 diamond - yielded 30 goals, 18 from strike duo Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic. While the squad is overflowing with playmakers, it lacks effective ball-winners to screen the defence. Expect them to change formation against Argentina but go for the jugular against Nigeria and Iran.
One of the best players in Serie A this season, Roma's Miralem Pjanic turned down Luxembourg and France to represent the country he left just before war broke out. He's a technically gifted dead-ball specialist capable of spectacular goals, but with veteran Zvjezdan Misimovic in favour as Bosnia's 'number 10', Pjanic operates from deep.
Voted the best player in Paris St-Germain's history, Safet Susic represented Yugoslavia at the 1982 and 1990 World Cups. He says of his cavalier approach: "We know that we expose ourselves too much and that there is a huge risk in the way we play - but that is the price we are willing to pay. In the end, we play to score more goals than the opposition, and it has paid off so far."
How they qualified
Beaten in the play-offs by Portugal in their previous two qualifying campaigns, the Bosnians were determined to top their group this time round. They edged out Greece on goal difference following a final-game win in Lithuania.
World Cup record
They will be the only debutants at the 2014 World Cup.
Fifa ranking: 25 (correct to 6 June)
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Jasmin Fejzic (VFR Aalen).
Defenders: Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Toni Sunjic (Zorya Lugansk), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Ognjen Vranjes (Elazigspor), Ervin Zukanovic (Gent), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros).
Midfielders: Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Anel Hadzic (Sturm), Tino Susic (Hajduk), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Zvjezdan Misimovic (Guizhour Renhe), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyesspor), Avdija Vrsaljevic (Hajduk).
Forwards: Vedad Ibisevic (VfB Stuttgart), Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB).
As for Bosnia-Herzegovina, it's tough not to root for them to survive (which they should) into the knockout round. They're the only team in the tournament for the first time, after a heatbreaking playoff-series loss to Portgual in 2010.
NEXT BIG THING...
Plenty of attention will fall on Bosnia-Herzegovina's vaunted offensive attack, but there's also something to be said for 20-year-old left back Sead Kolasinac. A product of the German youth system before he switched allegiances to play for Bosnia, Kolasinac started 21 games for Schalke in the Bundesliga last season and could be on the verge of something big if can help his country move on.
FliX WroteColondonniedarko WroteColonIran i Nigerija strahuju od nas. Konacno daju respekt i nasoj ekipi te su neki Iranci svjesni da mogu biti presretni ako izvuku i nerijeseno protiv nas.
Daj izvor, da i to vidim
Trenutno korisnika/ca: Nema prijavljenih korisnika/ca. i 1 gost.