Bosnians celebrate clinching World Cup playoff spot
Thousands of Bosnia fans celebrated into the early hours on Sunday after their team clinched a World Cup finals playoff spot.
A 2-0 win in Estonia on Saturday assured Bosnia a second place finish in Europe's Group Five behind winners Spain, who they face in their final group match at home on Wednesday.
Delighted fans flocked onto the streets and traffic ground to a halt in Sarajevo and other areas, including the divided city of Mostar where rival supporters often clash along ethnic lines.
"This is one of the best days of my life, we entered this qualifying campaign as minnows and now we will certainly have the top teams worrying what we might do," coach Miroslav Blazevic told Bosnian media.
"The fans in Tallinn were like an extra man on the pitch while the players deserve a heroes' welcome when we return to Sarajevo," he said after Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic had scored in each half for the Bosnians.
Bosnia, who have never qualified for a major tournament as an independent nation, will face another European side in a two-leg playoff on Nov. 12 and 16 for a berth in next year's finals.
"We want to treat our fans to some entertaining football against the Spaniards and then raise our game in the playoffs so we can qualify for the World Cup," said defender Safet Nadarevic.
The Bosnians will be unseeded in the playoffs, in which the top eight runners-up from the nine groups will vie for four spots in South Africa.