World Cup 2014: Bosnia & Herzegovnia v Iran

By on June 25, 2014

Iran will go up against Bosnia & Herzegovnia in their final group game of this year’s World Cup as they look to defy the odds and confirm their place in the knockout round with a win.

Bosnia & Herzegovnia entered the World Cup as clear underdogs but with the squad they possessed, many tipped them to cause a few upsets in this year’s tournament. However, all did not go according to plan for them. They faced Argentina in their opening game and were off to a horrible start when the went behind in the very first minute of the game because of an own goal from a Leo Messi freekick. They did manage to keep the deficit to just one goal at half time. Later in the 2nd half, Lionel Messi scored an asbolutely brilliant solo goal which pretty much killed the hopes of the Bosnian fans. Bosnia and Herzegovnia did however produce some moments of brilliance themselves when they took the game to the Argentines and created scoring chances. They did score a goal themselves in the dying stages of the 2nd half however they could not add to that and get anything from the game. They faced Nigeria in their second group game and althought they produced a fine display in that game as well, a wrong offside decision led to a disallowed goal which cost Bosnia a point. Bosnia & Herzegovnia were however very adventurous in their style of play and have win many hearts in their short stay at the World Cup and the fans cannot exactly regard this as a failure because the players have earned valuable experience which may pay off in the next major events. With players coming through the ranks, they can be hopeful of a birght future in the game.

Coming into the final game of the group stages, they have zero points from the first two games and subsequently have no chance of qualifying for the next round as Nigeria already have four points from their game. Even if Bosnia get all three points from this one, they will not be able to qualify for the knockout rounds. However, with nothing to lose, they can be expected to put everything into this game and try to sign off on a high note. They will look at this game as a chance to at least finish above Iran and therefore will go for all three points in this game. They will be well aware of how organized this Iranian defence is and it will take some very clever attacking from Bosnia to break the deadlock. One thing that might play in their favor is the fact that Iran need a win to qualify for the next round and that might draw Queiroz’s men out of their defensive positions leaving behind spaces wihich the likes of Pjanic and Dzeko can exploit.

Bosnia and Herzegovina have never beaten Iran (D1 L4). Bosnia have kept one clean sheet in their last six internationals. Edin Dzeko has attempted nine shots in the tournament so far, eight of which came against Nigeria. This will be the sixth ever meeting between these sides. This will be the first time these sides have faced off in a FIFA World Cup.

Iran were the other underdogs of Group F going into the World Cup. They weren’t tipped by many to qualify for the knockout round however Carlos Queiroz’s men might have a slight chance of qualification owing to that opening day game against Nigera. One thing that Iran have been praised for throughout the campaign is their organization in defence. They donot have a lot of big name players in their squad but the way Carlos Queiroz has organised his defence and they way the players have applied their coach’s philosophy is admirable. They have conceded only one goal so far and that is a huge feat considering many tipped them to get hammered by the likes of Argentina and Nigeria. They played a 0-0 opening game against Nigeria where they kept an astute defensive line for the entire 90 minutes and managed to get a point from the game. They faced Argentina in their second game and kept Sabella’s men at bay for the majority of the game. Attack after attack from one of the best attacking line-ups in thr World could not break down that Iranian wall. They almost gathered a shock point from that game as well but it was another one of Lionel Messi’s individual goal in the dying moments of the game that led to them not getting anything from the game. They did lack some creativity in the attacking areas and that is ana rea where Carlos Queiroz will have to focus on but the defence will not be a worrying factor. They managed to give Argentina a scare a couple of times on the break where they looked set to score but were denied by Romero. The coach would motivate his side to build on that and try to score in this game because scoring is as important as defense in their final game.

With Nigeria playing Argentina in their final game of the group stages, Iran have a chance to qualify for the next round if they can manage a victory against Bosnia & Herzegovnia. Iran currently have one point from two games while Nigeria are on four points. If Argentina beat Nigeria in their game and Iran managed to get all three points in this one, then Iran might qualify for the knockout round if they have a better goal difference. That is what Carlos Queiroz will have his eyes on and that is what will drive this Iranian side to not just defend in this one but also try to score. Bosnia & Herzegovnia do pose a threat and will not be easy targets even though they are alrady out of the World Cup. Bosnia will be looking to at least finish above Iran which means they will take this game seriously and Carlos Queiroz will have to be smart in how he lines up his Iran side.

Iran have won their last 3 matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina in all competitions and have scored at least 2 goals in those three matches. Iran have scored 16 goals across their five previous matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina; an average of 3.2 per game. ran last faced Bosnia and Herzegovina in August 2009; they won the game 3-2. Iran have never won against European opposition at World Cup (D1 L4). 11 of the last 12 goals Iran have conceded at the World Cup have come in the second half.

Bosnia & Herzegovnia will make a few changes going into this game. Kolasinac is expected to start this game for Bosnia & Herzegovnia after being benched for the last one. Salihovic will again start this game on the bench and may be used as a super sub. Vedad Ibisevic isn’t expected to start against Iran either.

Iran have no injury worries and may name the same starting XI that took to the field against Argentina. Shojaei is the only player who didn’t play in the last game, who might be handed a start in this one.

DATE: June 25, 2014

TIME: 5:00 PM BST

VENUE:  Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Bahia

REFEREE:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:
Bosnia & Herzegovnia (4-2-3-1):- Begovic; Kolasinac, Spahic, Sunjic, Mujdza; Besic, Pjanic; Lulic, Misimovic, Hajrovic; Dzeko
Iran (4-2-3-1):- Haghighi; Pooladi, Sadeqi, Hosseini, Montazeri; Teymourian, Nekounam; Dejagah, Hajsafi, Shojaei; Ghoochannejihad

LAST MATCH:
Bosnia & Herzegovnia:- 0-1 vs Nigeria
Iran:- 0-1 vs Argentina

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Bosnia & Herzegovnia 1-1 Iran

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