While still falling short of progression to the knockout stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Bosnia and Herzegovina have closed their maiden appearance in the tournament’s finals in the best way possible, cruising to a 3-1 victory over Iran at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador this morning.
Widely expected to end their winning drought at the 2014 World Cup in this morning’s meeting with Iran, Bosnian fans were immediately greeted with exceptional play, speed on ball and skill following the opening whistle, with gun striker Edin Dzeko unlucky not to convert a good chance in the first five minutes.
Continuing to lay the pressure on their opponents, it was not long until Bosnia took up the lead, when Dzeko slammed home an impressive solo effort into the bottom corner over the Iranian goal, securing his first registered goal at the World Cup finals.
Appearing to spark the Iranians into gear, Bosnia were particularly lucky not to concede in the game’s very next play when Masoud Shojaei hit the ball cleanly from distance, crashing into the cross bar of Begovic’ goal.
Unable to break Bosnia’s back four for the proceeding 15 minutes, Iran found themselves still 1-0 down upon reaching the break.
Returning in the second half in similar form to that of the first, Bosnia again pushed into Iran’s half, maintaining possession on the edge of the 18-yard box but seeming to lack a final touch on goal.
Shutting down the few counter chances Iran launched, Bosnia made it 2-0 and almost put the game out of reach when Miralem Pjanic finished off a perfectly timed through-ball which was argued to have been hit from an offside position by the Iranian defence.
Attempting to press forward, Iran appeared incapable of breaking the Bosnian midfielder until Charlton Athletic marksman Reza Ghoochannejhad pegged one back in the 82nd minute; finishing off an exceptional solo run.
Needing just one minute to re-assert their dominance on the match, Avdija Vrsajevic drove the final nail into the Iran’s coffin when scoring in the 83rd minute, ending the game 3-1 in favour of the Europeans.
Playing out a thrilling 3-2 contest in Group F’s other final pool game, Argentina and Nigeria will progress to the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup and will face Switzerland and France respectively.
Winning each of their three matches during the Group stage, Argentina are currently clear favourites to continue passed Switzerland at short $1.20 odds at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au, while Nigeria are given far less hope of defeating a rampant Les Bleu at a quote of $4.