Quarter-finals: France – Colombia – Belgium – Costa Rica
World Cup progress: Group stage
Team rating: 5
Top scorer: Dzeko, Ibisevic, Pjanic, Vrsajevic (1)
Bosnia were the plucky underdogs that gave more established opponents a few surprises, but that did not prove enough to get them through to the next round, writes Jeremy Lim.
Brave Bosnia bow out
World Cup debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina earned their personal set of admirers during their brief outing, but had to rue missed opportunities as they exited early.
The silky underdogs stayed true to their attacking ideals throughout. But while they outclassed Group F favourites Argentina for long periods during their opening clash, there was little they could do about a stunning LionelMessi winning strike.
Edin Dzeko proved extremely profligate against Nigeria next as the Africans edged them 1-0 to send them out. He also had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out. The 28-year-old then rectified with his first World Cup goal past Iran, but the win that followed was just too little, too late.
The Coach – Safet Susic
Safet Susic never abandoned Bosnia’s ethos of attack, no matter the opponent. The 59-year-old knew his team’s greatest strengths lay upfront: “We never play with just one attacker. We have players in midfield who want to go forward, wingers who always participate in attacks. In any situation, we have five or six upfront.”
Player of the Tournament – Miralem Pjanic
When the real Edin Dzeko failed to show up in Brazil, Miralem Pjanicshouldered the responsibility in his stead. The playmaker bossed the midfield against Argentina, Nigeria and Iran. Had a couple more of the 12 goalscoringopportunities he laid on been converted, Bosnia could be through to the next round now.
Vedad Ibisevic kept his composure to fire in a consolation through the legs of Sergio Romero despite being two down versus Argentina, thus becoming Bosnia’s first ever goalscorer in the World Cup.
For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.