by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 25th 2014)
Safet Sušicʼs Bosnia-Herzegovina team claimed their first ever win in the World Cup Finals – a 3-1 win over Carlos Queirozʼ Iran. After his strong comments about Peter OʼLeary – the New Zealander who refereed their previous match against Nigeria – being the reason that they lost that match, Manchester Cityʼs Edin Džeko let his feet do the talking to great effect..
Romaʼs Miralem Pjanić put Džeko through midway into Iranʼs half. After beating Amir Hossein Saghedi, Džeko shot from 25 yards out. His placement was excellent. Alireza Haghighi stood no chance. Džekoʼs shot to his left went in off the post to give him his first goal in the competition and Bosnia the lead.
Sušicʼs team kept the lead until half-time. They doubled their lead after 58 minutes through a deft finish by Pjanić. After a build up of Iranian pressure Jalal Hosseini gave possession away. Džeko passed to Safet Sušicʼs nephew Tino-Sven Sušic. The Hajduk Split midfielder put Pjanić through to score – a goal that left Iran with a mountain to climb. Queirozʼ team had to win to progress and then needed a favour from Argentina.
With less than ten minutes of normal time remaining Reza Ghoochennejhad gave Iran hope with a tap-in from Javad Nekounamʼs pass. Bosnia had themselves to blame. Defensively they conceded corners and failed to clear decisively. The ping pong eventually found its way to Nekounam, who squared for an easy goal.
Not even Asmir Begović could prevent that, but no sooner had Iran forced the door slightly ajar than an irritated Bosnia struck back with a sweeping move down the right flank. Avdija Vršajević latched onto to Sejad Salihovićʼs pass and struck it sweetly off the far post – Haghighi had no chance.
While Bosnia played for pride and restored honour, Iranʼs tactics were baffling Bosnia with little to play for dominated possession and played like the team that needed a win to progress, while Iran seemed strangely disinterested. Argentina did them the necessary favour, but Quierozʼ team failed to do themselves justice.
Shortly after Bosnia took the lead Fulhamʼs Ashkan Dejagah put Massoud Shojaei through on the right of the area. Shojaei shot powerfully from 15 yards out, but hit the crossbar. The rebound fell to Ghoochennejhad, but he fluffed the chance badly. Fortunately for him he was penalised correctly for offside. That summed up Iranʼs evening and Carlos Queiroz resigned.