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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 10, 2005

Bosnia's Bolic seeking glory against Serbia

BELGRADE, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Striker Elvir Bolic is hoping for a glorious return to Red Star's Marakana stadium as Bosnia-Herzegovina face Serbia and Montenegro in their final World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

Tight security measures are expected as nearly 1,000 Bosnian supporters are expected to make the trip to Belgrade for an emotionally charged encounter.

'I have very fond memories of playing for Red Star when I was a youngster,' said Bolic, who enjoyed a brief spell with the former European champions in 1992.

'I scored quite a few goals then and I hope I can stick one in now in the twilight of my career,' added the 34-year-old, who hit a hat-trick against San Marino on Saturday.

Victory will seal automatic qualification for Group Seven leaders Serbia, while the Bosnians can snatch a playoff berth if they come away from Belgrade with all three points.

A draw could also be enough for the Serbs to top the group if Spain fail to beat San Marino by at least four goals.

Both Serbia and Bosnia can go through, as group winners and playoff contenders, only in the highly unlikely event of Spain failing to beat San Marino.

Media on both sides have played down the political aspect of the showdown, a decade after the end of the bloody ethnic war between Serbs and Muslims from 1992 to 1995.

The two sides drew 0-0 draw in Sarajevo last October, when police outnumbered the several hundred visiting Bosnian Serb fans.

Serbia striker Mateja Kezman believes the visitors do not stand a chance in the cauldron of Marakana.

'The whole of Belgrade should breathe as one on Wednesday and I am sure the Bosnians will quickly realise what they are up against,' he was quoted as saying by daily Vecernje Novosti.

'We don't deserve to be in the World Cup finals if we can't beat Bosnia in Belgrade,' he added.

But Bosnia manager Blaz Sliskovic, has transformed the team since taking over in 2002 and was confident they could pull off an upset in Belgrade.

'We are going to Belgrade with the strong conviction that we can win and I think this team is capable of doing that. It shouldn't be a surprise if we make it,' he said.

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