Managed Safet Susic admits that he is not sure what Bosnia And Herzegovina’s chances are when they make their major international tournament debut at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil later this year.
Bosnia And Herzegovina topped a group that included Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Liechtenstein to book their place in the World Cup Finals and played some entertaining football in their ten qualification matches.
Bosnia And Herzegovina lost playoffs to Portugal to miss out on a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2012 European Championships and Susic said that he was delighted to finally book a place in the World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein last year.
“Above all a huge sense of relief,” Susic said when asked how he felt when his nation secured their spot in the World Cup.
“That struck me first because we’d aimed to finish top of our group to avoid the play-offs at all costs after being eliminated at that stage twice in the past.
“After the relief came a huge sense of joy.”
Bosnia And Herzegovina are currently ranked nineteenth in the world and have a squad that is filled with talented players who are currently plying their trade in the English Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A, but still head into the World Cup with a slightly unknown quality.
Susic revealed that even he is unsure what Bosnia And Herzegovina can achieve during the tournament and believes that his side may face problems if one of their leading players, like strikers Edin Dzeko or Vedad Ibisevic, is injured before or during the tournament.
“Even I couldn’t tell you how far we can go,” Susic said.
“We’ve been playing really well against smaller teams but so far haven’t beaten a big side like France, Portugal or Brazil.
“I think that to be a great team, you need to be able to field two sides; we have ten or so very good players, but the players on the bench aren’t at the same level.
“When we’re at full strength we can give anyone a run for their money, but that changes if we’re missing one or two players.”
Bosnia And Herzegovina will take on the might of Argentina in their opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup before facing Nigeria and Iran; with all three nations rated a realistic chance to finish second in the group behind Argentina.
Susic said that he is still unsure how he will approach his teams’ tough opening assignment against Argentina in Rio de Janiero but believes that their second meeting against Nigeria in Cuiaba will be their most important game.
“We certainly could’ve ended up in a more difficult group, so we can’t complain too much,” Susic said.
“There’s one huge side who will undoubtedly finish first, Nigeria who always get to the World Cup and Iran who are completely unknown to us but finished top in qualifying so are definitely a good team.
“What’s certain is that we’ll be playing for qualification in the second match against Nigeria.
“The aim is to get through the first round; that’s what we want to do, but that doesn’t mean we’ll succeed.”
Bosnia And Herzegovina is currently rated a $151 chance to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup but are narrow favourites to win both their matches against Nigeria and Iran.