Bosnia and Herzegovina: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Jasmin Fejzic (VFR Aalen)
Defenders: Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke 04), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Ognjen Vranjes (Elazigspor), Toni Sunjic (Zarya Lugansk), Avdija Vrsajevic (Hajduk Split), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg)
Midfielders: Zvjezdan Misimovic (Guizhou Renhe), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Miralem Pjanic (AS Roma), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyesspor), Tino Sven Susic (Hajduk Split), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros), Anel Hadzic (Sturm Graz)
Strikers: Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Vedad Ibisevic (VfB Stuttgart), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB)
Manager: Safet Susic
Captain: Emir Spahic
Bosnia and Herzegovina will play in a major tournament for the first time in their history after topping their qualifying group. They pipped Greece to first spot on goal difference with a 1-0 triumph in Lithuania in the final group game. That was enough to secure their place and spark scenes of unashamed jubilance across the nation.
Whilst it will be their first ever appearance in a World Cup, when you look at their squad it is no surprise that they have qualified; it is packed with technical players and well established goalscorers.
In the qualifiers, the team played a dynamic brand of attacking football. Their preferred 4-1-3-2 formation allowed offensive talents like Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic and Senad Lulic freedom to express themselves, whilst Miralem Pjanic knits everything together wonderfully in the middle of the park. It makes for an exciting spectacle and this was evident in the fact they scored 30 goals in their ten qualifying games.
Ibisevic has endured a difficult campaign at Stuttgart, and Susic could abandon his offensive approach in favour of a more conservative style that’d see Dzeko lead the line on his own.
Their attacking potency is undoubted, but defensively there are some lingering concerns when it comes to the Zmajevi. Sure, it is an area in which the team continues to improve and in Asmir Begovic they have an exceptional young goalkeeper. But the rest of the back four is unsettled and aside from the skipper Spahic, it’s difficult to say who Susic will go with in the back-line when they kick-off in the summer.
A group containing Argentina, Nigeria and Iran gives this team a wonderful chance of progressing to the knock-out stages. With Argentina the standout favourites, Bosnia’s clash with the Super Eagles looks set to be the vital clash in this group.
Key Player – Edin Dzeko
Even though he has flittered in and out of the Manchester City team for the majority of the campaign, Dzeko never seems to have any issues sticking the ball in the back of the net. In Manchester City’s title triumph, he scored some vital goals towards the end of the season, showcasing his big game pedigree in spades.
He and Ibisevic struck up a remarkable partnership during the qualifying campaign, helping themselves to ten and eight goals respectively.
Much of this team won’t have experience of playing in the highest profile games, but the same certainly cannot be said of Dzeko, who has won titles in England and Germany. If Bosnia are to ruffle a few feathers, he needs to lead by example and continue his fine run of goal scoring in international football.