Featured Matches
Previous
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
3
0
FT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
1
1
FT-Pens
Game Details
Grimsby Town
Mansfield Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Morecambe
Preston North End
1
2
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Southampton
0
1
FT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
West Ham United
Sydney FC
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Wellington Phoenix FC
Newcastle United
4:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
1
1
FT-Pens
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
3
0
FT
Game Details
FC Vestsjaelland
Odense BK
3
1
FT
Game Details
UCD
Derry City
Postp
Game Details
Bohemians
Cork
2
0
FT
Game Details
Shamrock
Drogheda Utd
0
1
FT
Game Details
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Necaxa
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
Luverdense
0
1
LIVE 34'
Game Details
América RN
América Mineiro
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Boa MG
Bragantino
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Audax Italiano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Garcilaso
Melgar
1
1
FT
Game Details
Nacional
Deportivo Capiatá
0
3
FT
Game Details
Western New York Flash
Boston Breakers
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Matchday 14: Messi, Argentina in round of 16

Five Aside Jun 25, 2014
Read

Bosnia, before Dzeko

Blog - Wright Thompson Jun 21, 2014
Read

Bosnia's prediction: Last 16

Bosnia Jun 9, 2014
Read
 Posted by Sasa Ibrulj
Jun 18, 2014

The rise of Bosnia's Muhamed Besic

Muhamed Besic, left, tussles with Lionel Messi.

Losing to Argentina in the opening match of the World Cup was never going to be considered a failure for Bosnia-Herzegovina. With their positive performance in a 2-1 defeat at the Maracana stadium on Sunday, the Dragons' team are still doing well and there is a state of euphoria back home. What's more, the Bosnians also promoted a new national hero in 21-year-old Muhamed Besic.

The young Ferencevaros defender, who occupied the vacant holding midfielder role on Safet Susic's team, got all the media attention after the first World Cup match in the history of the country. Throughout the game, Besic chose the simplest possible solutions -- often a clean short pass (he ended up with 98 percent passing accuracy, according to Whoscored.com) -- and left the impression of being a mature and experienced player, despite his age.

The nature of his role on this team made him look the most important player in neutralising most of the Argentinian attacking power, especially in the first half. Besic was often closest to Lionel Messi, winning the battle in the first 45 minutes, but eventually lapsing in the 65th, when the Argentina captain outran him -- not without Ermin Bicakcic's help, though -- and scored the winner. However, his display against Argentina created a sort of hysteria back home, where many came to the conclusion that the youngster locked Messi down. Luckily, Besic has both feet firmly on the ground.

"I don't want to talk about my individual performance," was his postmatch comment. "The team performed well, but now we have to focus on what is in front of us, and that is Nigeria."

The Argentina match was a small jubilee for him, being his 10th cap for the national team, but the fact is that this was his first start for Bosnia-Herzegovina in competitive matches. He was not a part of the team that qualified for the World Cup -- at least not a significant part; he watched three out of 10 matches from the bench.

Back in 2010, when he made his debut for his country, Besic was considered one of the best prospects in Bosnian football. Just five days after he made his first-team debut for Hamburg -- playing the last 10 minutes against Borussia in Dortmund -- the Berlin-born prodigy became the youngest player to represent Bosnia-Herzegovina. That November night in Bratislava, he was just 18 years, 68 days old.

However, things drastically changed in the next two years. His HSV career stretched to only three appearances in Bundesliga and an alleged conflict with Torsten Fink, the club's coach at the time, resulted in a suspension and saw him eventually shipped out to Hungarian side Ferencvaros on a free transfer.  Susic is known for his scepticism toward the quality of the lesser leagues in Europe, rarely giving players from there a chance to prove themselves in the national team shirt. Therefore, Besic lost his place on the team and was demoted to the under-21s, where his indiscipline continued to haunt him.

However, the lack of a proper holding midfielder in the national team forced Susic to rethink, and he surprisingly included him on the World Cup squad. Eyebrows were raised when Susic emphasised: "Besic is the only Bosnian that can stop Messi" -- most notably because his versatility made it unclear what his best position was. In the Hungarian league he impressed, but even there he was primarily used as a right-back or a central defender, and the Bosnian public was sceptical.

That changed in the two friendlies against Ivory Coast and Mexico, where Besic was arguably the best Bosnian player on the pitch. And he continued his rapid rise with a performance on the biggest stage of all at the Maracana. Susic's problem in defensive midfield has now been solved.

The hardest match of the group for Bosnia-Herzegovina is over, so for Besic, even better things could come. If he manages to replicate his display against Argentina in the matches against Nigeria and Iran, this World Cup could easily launch his career to new heights.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.