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Dzeko
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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Jasmin Fezjic (Aalen).

Defenders: Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Toni Sunjic (Zorya), Ognjen Vranjes (Elazigspor), Ervin Zukanovic (Gent).

Midfielders: Anel Hadzic (Sturm Graz), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyespor), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Zvjezdan Misimovic (Guizhou Renhe), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg), Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Tino Susic (Hajduk Split), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB), Avdija Vrsajevic (Hajduk Split).

Forwards: Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Vedad Ibisevic (Stuttgart)

Bosnia
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

Bosnia-Herzegovina can be sure of fervent support back home when they travel to make their FIFA World Cup debut in Brazil.

Fans packed the streets of Sarajevo last October after Vedad Ibisevic scored the only goal to see off Lithuania and pip Greece to first place in Group G of UEFA qualifying.

Jubilant celebrations were still in full force when the team arrived home to a joyous welcome at 3am and a successful campaign in South America would be sure to spark similar scenes.

Bosnia are the sole debutants at this year's showpiece and the 77th nation to contest a World Cup finals have been handed a daunting opening game against Argentina at Rio de Janeiro's famous Maracana.

Safet Susic's team would surely class any point against one of the tournament favourites as a bonus, but subsequent encounters against Nigeria and Iran appear to present them with every chance of securing a knockout spot.

Regardless of how successful they are in their bid to reach the last 16, Bosnia's free-scoring nature during qualification suggests that they should be involved in some memorable encounters.

Manchester City's Edin Dzeko formed a lethal strike partnership with Ibisevic - the pair helping themselves to 10 and eight goals respectively during the campaign.

Zvjezdan Misimovic is his country's most capped player and provides the dynamic duo with their ammunition while retaining an eye for goal himself.

Further creativity is offered by Miralem Pjanic, who shone as Roma secured a second-place finish in Serie A in the 2013-14 season.

However, Bosnia’s triumph in claiming 25 points – and outplacing UEFA Euro 2004 winners Greece on goal difference – was built on success at both ends of the pitch.

Stoke City's Asmir Begovic has established himself as one of the leading goalkeepers in the Premier League and operated in a typically assured fashion behind a defence that was breached only six times in 10 qualifying matches.

Nevertheless, Susic could have work on his hands after a disagreement with Dzeko lay at the root of a tumultuous 2-0 friendly defeat to Egypt in Innsbruck in March.

Dzeko came into the match nursing an injury and with the apparent understanding he would only feature in the first half.

Susic did not see things this way and the striker endured a torrid 90 minutes that saw him jeered by Bosnia supporters.

"I came here with a niggling injury and Susic knew that, and he still didn't substitute me either at half-time, which was the plan, or after the break when I asked to be replaced," Dzeko subsequently said on his Facebook page.

"I don't know why he left me on the pitch for the full 90 minutes. I wish to thank all fans who support me but the others should be ashamed because I am a born winner and always played my heart out for the national team."

For his part, Susic was critical of both Dzeko's standpoint on an early withdrawal and the fans that booed him.

Yet if Dzeko can rediscover the knack for vital goals he regularly displays at club level within a talented squad, all is sure to be forgiven before the party gets under way in Sarajevo once again.



Player Profile (Edin Dzeko)Edit

Position: Forward
Date of Birth: March 17, 1986
Club: Manchester City
International Debut: v Turkey (June 6, 2007)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0

Edin Dzeko will make an emotional debut at the 2014 FIFA World Cup when Bosnia-Herzegovina appear at the tournament as an independent nation for the first time.

The Balkan country had never qualified for a major tournament until a 1-0 victory in Lithuania last October ensured they finished top of UEFA Group G with 25 points, ahead of Greece on goal difference.

That offered a degree of redemption for Safet Susic's men, who suffered play-off heartbreak against Portugal in qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Bosnia-Herzegovina will now grace the global football showpiece for the first time, something described as a "special" occasion by the tall striker.

"It's definitely a fantastic achievement," the 28-year-old said. "We waited a long 23 years, now we are going to Brazil - a first World Cup for us.

"It's a special thing. I'm so proud of what we achieved and of my country. Of course, there were many emotions."

The World Cup often provides a surprise, and having booked their passage to the finals, Bosnia-Herzegovina have been touted by several pundits as capable of causing a shock.

Any success that Susic's men do enjoy in Brazil is likely to depend upon the form of Dzeko, who is one of the undoubted poster-boys of the national team.

He shot to prominence back in his homeland with a goal on his debut, a 3-2 win against Turkey in June 2007.

Since then, his star has continued to rise. Domestically, he lifted the Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg, before adding to his medal collection following a move to Manchester City by winning two Premier Leagues as well as FA Cup and League Cup medals.

On the international scene, he averages almost a goal every other game and he has long since moved past Zvjezdan Misimovic as his country's record scorer.

His importance to Susic's side was clear in Bosnia-Herzegovina's qualification for Brazil, as he finished as the second-highest goalscorer in the UEFA section - his tally of 10 beaten only by Netherlands forward Robin van Persie.

Stuttgart's Vedad Ibisevic proved a valuable strike-partner throughout that successful campaign, weighing in with eight goals of his own and, with the attacking guile of Misimovic and Roma's Miralem Pjanic providing ample support, Dzeko could just prove to be one of the leading stars come the tournament proper.

However, his preparation for the World Cup has been marred somewhat by an apparent argument with Susic in the build-up.

He expressed his frustration at being made to play the entirety of a 2-0 defeat against Egypt in March despite feeling a niggling injury, while he was also critical of supporters who had jeered his performance.

Susic soon hit back at his talisman, telling Bosnian newspaper Dnevni Avaz: "He wanted to come off in the second half but I left him on because, despite his claim that he was suffering from a niggling knee injury, the team doctor said he was match-fit with a proper warm-up.

"People forget past merits very quickly and he can rest assured that they (the fans) will jeer him again if he doesn't live up to expectations."

Despite that fall-out, all ill-feeling is likely to be forgotten by the time the action gets under way in Brazil, with Dzeko's emotional first taste of World Cup action set to come against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro on June 15.


News SourcesEdit

• Bosnian FA http://www.nfsbih.ba/bih/index.php

• E-mail for FA (taken from UEFA page) elmirpilav@yahoo.com

• Bosnia FIFA homepage http://www.fifa.com/associations/association=bih/

• Sarajevo times (English page) http://www.sarajevotimes.com/category/sport/

• Bosnia news agency FENA http://www.fena.ba/public2/Category.aspx?category_id=SP

• 24 Sata http://www.24sata.info/sport/index.1.html

• BH news http://www.bh-news.com/ba/rubrika/6/sport.html

• BHT 1 TV station http://www.bhrt.ba/sport/

• RTRS TV station http://www.rtrs.tv/vijesti/index3.php?id=2

• Al Jazeera Balkans, WC page http://balkans.aljazeera.net/svjetsko-prvenstvo-2014

• SKY sports Bosnia page http://www1.skysports.com/FIFA-World-Cup-2014/bosnia-

herzegovina

• BBC Sport Bosnia page http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/bosnia-hercegovina

• Newsnow WC page (no specific page for Bosnia) http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Sport/

Football/Cup+Football/World+Cup+2014