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Matchday 14: Messi, Argentina in round of 16

Five Aside

Bosnia, before Dzeko

Blog - Wright Thompson

Bosnia's prediction: Last 16

 By Sasa Ibrulj

Bosnia-Herzegovina unable to cope with Belgium's individual quality

Kevin De Bryune, Marouane Fellaini and Eden Hazard all scored as the Belgium stars showed up against a feisty Bosnian side.

Mehmed Bazdarevic, the 54-year old manager of Bosnia-Herzegovina, could have not been more honest and direct to a small pack of journalists at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on Thursday night. His Bosnia-Herzegovina team had just lost to Belgium 3-1, despite looking in control after Edin Dzeko had opened the scoring in the 15th minute.

"I believe that we did our best," he said. "But, at this point, Belgium is a side with much better individuals than we have and this result is realistic."


 By Sasa Ibrulj

On the road to Euro 2016, Balkan nations endure mixed fortunes

Mehmed Bazdarevic has been charged with turning round the fortunes of struggling Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A year ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina was in a football trance when the national team opened their World Cup campaign vs. Argentina in the Maracana stadium. Twelve months after their first-ever major tournament, however, the Bosnians will host Israel in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday surrounded in a completely different atmosphere.

Seeded in the first pot for the first time ever the Dragons were, together with Belgium, favourites in a group that also includes Wales, Israel, Cyprus and Andorra, teams...

 By Sasa Ibrulj

Safet Susic exit leaves Bosnia-Herzegovina facing an uncertain future

Asmir Begovic left the pitch of Haifa's Sammy Ofer Stadium on Sunday night and entered the improvised TV studio in anger. His appearance left no ambiguity as to how he felt. Gritting his teeth, clenching his fists, he was raging mad. This was supposed to be his big night, one of the most memorable in his professional career.

In the absence of Edin Džeko, Stoke City's keeper captained his country for the first time. Instead, it proved to be a disaster as the Dragons were scattered 3-0 by...

 By Nick Ames

Bosnia-Herzegovina earn draw against Belgians, but squad depth a concern

ZENICA, Bosnia and Herzegovina -- The mood inside Bilino Polje had been quite different 367 days previously. When a ball flashed past Asmir Begovic then, it was sent by Liechtenstein's Nicolas Hasler, with Bosnia and Herzegovina already four goals up and the same number of days away from a World Cup qualification that by this stage seemed driven by providence.

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That night, no concession could abate the din, the chants, the anthems. On Monday evening, the opposite was true. While things had been...

 By Kevin Palmer

Previewing this week's best Euro 2016 qualifying matches

Cynics of UEFA's decision to bolster their European Championship finals entry list to 24 teams will be offered more than a little ammunition to back up their theory that the expanded competition has diluted the pre-event qualifying campaign this week.

England's Wembley meeting with San Marino (FIFA ranking 208) at Wembley on Thursday, Holland's clash with Kazakhstan (127) a day later and the Republic of Ireland's meeting with Gibraltar (unranked by FIFA) are some of the fixtures on the horizon that...

 By Sasa Ibrulj

Edin Dzeko says Bosnia 'want more' now that qualifying hex has ended

Edin Dzeko scored his first World Cup goal for Bosnia in their finale Wednesday.
Edin Dzeko says Bosnia and Herzegovina 'want more' after qualifying for the World Cup, their first major tournament.

Year after year since they gained independence from Yugoslavia and began competing with the rest of their fellow Europeans, the Bosnians had their autumn routine. Every two years, with the start of the new qualifying campaign for the next major tournament, their football team -- as well as the media, fans and basically everyone -- repeated the same words and turned them in sacred litany.

Now or never. It was always now or never. Hope bursting like a bubble and crying over their failures were...