Group F, Match 6
Bosnia-Herzegovina knocked Iran out of the World Cup and salvaged some pride with a 3-1 win on Wednesday, reports Goal.com.
With their fate already sealed after defeats to Argentina and Nigeria, Bosnia played with freedom and made history as goals to Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Avdija Vrsajevic saw them collect their first points at the showpiece.
The result also ended Iran's stay in Brazil, as they finished last in Group F with just one point from three matches.
Carlos Queiroz's side needed to beat Bosnia and hope Argentina defeated Nigeria, but saw their slim chances of progression end in Salvador on Wednesday.
Dzeko broke the deadlock midway through the first half with a well-placed low strike from 25 yards, and Pjanic doubled their lead a minute before the hour.
Reza Ghoochannejad gave Iran a lifeline with eight minutes left, tapping in from close range, but Vrsajevic responded within 60 seconds for Bosnia, scoring an excellent angled finish.
The result means Nigeria – who were beaten 3-2 by Argentina – progress to the last 16 with Alejandro Sabella's side.
Bosnia coach Safet Susic rang the changes following their defeat to Nigeria, making five, as Vedad Ibisevic lined up alongside Dzeko in attack, while, in stark contrast, Iran were unchanged after their impressive, albeit fruitless, performance against Argentina.
Bosnia – who had been on the front foot since kick-off – had their pressure rewarded in the 23rd minute when Dzeko, who proved an early threat, broke his World Cup duck.
The Manchester City forward won the ball 35 yards from goal and charged forward, evading two challenges before firing a low left-footed strike past Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi, into the inside of the post, and in.
Iran were denied an immediate response when Masoud Shojaei's deflected effort from just inside the penalty area hit the crossbar after good work from Ashkan Dejagah on the right.
Ghoochannejad was next to go close for a rejuvenated Iran, but was denied by Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the 31st minute, while after the break, Dejagah completely missed the ball when presented with a good chance to equalise.
And Pjanic made Iran pay with 59 minutes played, as he netted a composed finish from seven yards after Tino Susic found him with a perfect pass.
Iran gave Bosnia a scare though, when after failing to net in their first two games, they finally got themselves on the scoresheet.
Ghoochannejad was the man responsible, applying the finishing touches to Javad Nekounam's dangerous low cross.
It mattered little, though, as Bosnia sealed their victory when Vrsajevic fired in off the post to end a swift counterattack.
Man of the Match: E Dzeko (BIH)
Match Commentary - as it happened
So, Bosnia have their first World Cup win and as a result finish third in Group F, ahead of Iran. Argentina qualify top, followed by Nigeria.
FULL TIME - Bosnia 3-1 Iran: Team Melli needed a win this afternoon but Queiroz refused to alter his defensive approach and it ended up costing them dearly. The Dragons went two goals up thanks to Dzeko and Pjanic but Reza's goal gave the Persian Stars hope. However, Vrsajevic immediately put the Europeans 3-1 up and that's how it finished.
90' + 3' There is the final whistle! Iran are out of the World Cup!
90' + 2' A needless challenge from Reza down by the corner flag sees the referee award Bosnia a free kick. Vrsajevic was going nowhere there, and he could have just pressed him into potentially kicking it out of play.
90' + 1' We are into the first of an additional three minutes.
89' Bosnia have a chance to break down the right but the pass to Vrsajevic is poor and it enables Iran to get bodies back into the box. The right-back's cross is poor anyway, and Team Melli thump it away from their goal.
88' Yellow Card Karim Ansarifard
87' Things are getting heated now! Ansarifard goes down under pressure in the box and feels he should have been awarded a penalty. When the referee refuses to give it he displays his anger and is subsequently shown a yellow card.
85' Well, Iran's hope of a comeback was extremely briefly lived! They now need three goals in the final five minutes, and it seems extremely unlikely that they will be able to manage that.
84' Substitution: Edin Dzeko out, Edin Višća in.
83' Goal Avdija Vršajević
83' GOOOOOOOOOAAAL!! BOSNIA RESTORE THEIR TWO-GOAL LEAD! Just one minute after conceding, Salihovic releases Vrsajevic down the right and the defender finishes brilliantly with a placed effort that goes in off the far post!
82' Assist Javad Nekounam
82' Goal R. Ghoochannejhad
GOOOOOOOOOAAL!! IRAN GET ONE BACK! Is the comeback on? A corner is half-cleared by Bosnia before being lofted back into the box. The defence aren't alert to Nekounam drifitng in behind to collect and he then smashes the ball across the box where Reza taps in at the back post.
81' WIDE FROM REZA! The striker picks up the ball on the edge of the box and dribbles over to the far side before releasing an effort on goal. It is blocked by Sunjic but the ball comes straight back to him. He has a second bit at it and sees his shot ben narrowly wide of that far post.
79' Substitution: Tino Sušić out, Sejad Salihovic in.
79' Tino Susic makes way for Salihovic and the on-screen graphics show the midfielder ran just shy of 10 kilometres during his sting on the pitch. He put in a really good stint for his side and can be happy with his display.
77' Yellow Card Muhamed Besic
77' Another strong, strong challenge from Besic over by the dugouts gets Queiroz up out of his seat. He clearly isn't happy with that, and neither is the referee as he brandishes a yellow card for the Bosnian midfielder.
75' A high ball up to Dzeko is brought down by the striker but his touch leaves it just behind him, and Montarezi swoops in to thump the ball out of the Team Melli half.
73' Bsonia have had 64% of possession this afternoon. You wouldn't have expected a side looking to profress to allow their opponents to hold onto the ball for so long! Queiroz's approach to this game hasn't been appropriate.
71' Iran just don't seem to be able to formulate a decent opening in the Bosnia half. Their crossing has been poor all afternoon and they still aren't able to hold onto possession.
69' With Alireza and now Ansarifard on the pitch Queiroz clearly seems to be changing his approach. Has it come a little too late for the Iranians to find their way into the knockout stages. They've come behind from 2-0 down against Bosnia before!
68' Substitution: Ashkan Dejagah out, Karim Ansarifard in.
67' KOLASINAC ALMOST SNEAKS ONE! On a rare occasion the left-back pushes up the pitch and gets into a crossing area. Haghighi steps out in anticipation of a cross but Kolasinac drills it low towards the near post. It bends just outside the post and into the side netting, with a little assistance from the keeper.
65' A chance for Bosnia as Vrsajevic gets forward and dinks a lovely cross to Dzeko on the penalty spot. The striker controls it well but cannot create the space for a shot and opts to backheel it for a team-mate. It halts the momentum of the attack and eventually Iran are able to clear.
63' Substitution: Ehsan Hajsafi out, Alireza Jahanbakhsh in.
63' STAT: Iran have never passed the group stages of a World Cup tournament. They've got it all to do in this last half an hour if they are to have any chance of that.
61' Substitution: Anel Hadzic out, Ognjen Vranješ in.
61' Safet Susic makes a change as Anel Hadzic makes way for Ognjen Vranjes in midfield. The former had very little impact on the game today. For Iran, that second goal doesn't change anything: they need three goals which would mean the drawing of lots for progression.
59' Assist Tino Sušić
59' Goal Miralem Pjanic
GOOOOOOOOAAAL!! BOSNIA MAKE IT TWO! A lovely goal from the Dragons! Iran give the ball away far too easily and Tino Susic picks it up and slides a great pass into Pjanic. The Roma man does the rest, slotting an elegant finish past the keeper.
58' Any chance Iran are getting to attack Bosnia is being ruined by both Dejagah's and Reza's inability to stay onside! Once more the Fulham man sees the assistant referee raise his flag as he attempts to break away down the left flank.
56' Dejagah absolutely fluffs an attempt to volley a cross from the left on target, mishitting the ball and sending it behind him. There is some relief for him, though, because he was in an offside position so any shot wouldn't have counted.
55' Iran break well and Heydari is picked out in space on the right. He crosses into the area but it is blocked by Sunjic and the chance is lost.
54' Team Melli continue to sit back, though. Bosnia are seeing much more of the ball but, due to the numbers behind it, are struggling to penetrate their opponents.
52' Argentina have regained the lead against Nigeria thanks to a Marcos Rojo goal! Iran are back in with a shout of qualifying. But they'd need three goals in order to have any chance of progression.
51' STAT: Iran have not won against European opposition at the World Cup in five attempts. They have only been victorious once at the tournament, when they beat USA in 1998.
49' Pjanic tries his luck with an effort from 20 yards out but he rifles it outside the post and into the hoardings behind the goal. Haghighi was scrambling, but he probably would have had that covered.
48' No sign of a change in approach from Iran, as Bosnia control possession with very little pressure upon them in the early stages of this half. Meanwhile in the group's other game, Ahmed Musa has made it Nigeria 2-2 Argentina!
46' Substitution: Masoud out, Khosro Heydari in.
46' We are back underway in Salvador! One change at half time as Iran's Masoud is replaced by Heydari.
HALF TIME - Bosnia 1-0 Iran: Team Melli need to win against the Dragons to have any chance of qualification, but they have maintained a defensive approach and are suffering the consequences as Dzeko's brilliant strike gives the Europeans the lead at the break. Carlos Queiroz's men will need to step it up at the break if they are to have any chance of making the knockout stages. Join me in 15 minutes to see if they can do just that!
45' + 3' There is the half-time whistle!
45' + 2' Argentina have just gone 2-1 up thanks to another Messi goal. A win by the same scoreline here for Iran would put them through.
45' + 1' We are into the first of an additional three minutes..
45' Dejagah flights in a free kick from deep but aims it too close to Begovic. The Bosnian keeper spills it slightly at the first attempt, but before it even hits the deck he recovers and clutches the ball tightly to his chest.
44' We're approaching the brink of half time and Iran have not looked like a team vying for a place in the knockout stages at all. They have remained far too defensive, and Masoud's shot which hit the bar has been their only real effort on goal.
42' HE HAS TO DO BETTER! Dzeko drops off the front and releases Vrsajevic with a measure through-ball down the right-hand channel. The right-back latches onto it but seems undecided as to whether to shoot or cross for Ibisevic. The result is that he fires the ball between the two, sending it behind for a goal kick.
41' Besix certainly isn't shy of a challenge! He catches his opposite number, Masoud, with a rough challenge in the centre of the park and receives a stern warning from the referee.
39' Bosnia send a free kick in the middle up towards Ibisevic. He is unable to win a clear header but the ball falls for Dzeko. The Manchester City man's first touch does not bring it under his control, though, and the Iranian defence are able to get a foot in and remove the danger.
37' Spahic is caught exceptionally late by Reza and the Bosnian captain stays on the deck in pain. The medical crew come on and he is stretchered off the pitch. It is unclear whether he will return to the action.
35' STAT: Iran are the only side not to have scored a goal so far this tournament. They now need to find two today should they have any chance of progessing to the round of 16.
33' Iran win a corner on the near side and Hajsafi takes it short to Dejagah. He then bides his time before floating a cross towards the back post, where Hosseini is lurking. Once more Begovic shows a good command of his area and jumps among the bodies to claim possession.
31' Dejagah's attempt is blocked by the wall but the ball is eventually lofted back into the box. A knock-down sees it fall at the feet of Reza who gets a shot away at goal which Begovic does well to come off of his line and block. It wouldn't have counted, though, as the striker was in an offside position.
30' Team Melli are awarded a free kick after a 50-50 challenge between Besic and Masoud ends with the Iranian catching a fist to the face! Free kick in a dangerous area.
29' We're back underway following that break, and Iran have the ball. They know that they will need two goals to have any chance of qualifying.
27' Following all that madness we have a break in play as Sunjic and Besic collide when the pair attempt to tackle Sadeghi in midfield. Both players receive treatment on the pitch, but should be alright to continue.
25' IRAN ALMOST LEVEL! Dejagah gets up on the right flank and manages to cut the ball back to Masoud. Despite being surrounded by blue shirts he gets a shot away which crashes off the bar and bounces down onto the ground. It doesn't cross the line, and Reza's blushes are spared as his failed attempts on the follow-up wouldn't have counted due to an offside decision.
23' Goal Edin Dzeko
GOOOOOOOAAL! DZEKO OPENS THE SCORING! Iran are caught out of shape and Dzeko picks up the ball 30 yards from goal. He dribbles it closer, beating Sadeghi in the process beofre unleashing a low effort from distance that found the back of the net via the post. A great finish!
22' The Dragons finally way past the initial bank of Iranian midfielders, with Besix slipping a pass to the byeline for Vrsajevic. It is the right-back's first foray forward and his delivery is not great, however, it wins a corner for his team.
20' Iran come forward down the left and Hajsafi whips a great-looking cross into the centre of the box. Reza makes a diagonal run into it's path but Begovic comes off his line and claims it before the Charlton Athletic striker can get there.
19' Bosnia are currently moving the ball about just inside the Iranian half, but with every opposition player behind possession space is rather hard to come by. They eventually look to probe down the left but a pass is sent loose and Team Melli regain possession.
17' Iran have scored 16 goals across their five previous matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is an average of 3.2 strikes per game. Playing the way they are today, it's difficult to see them maintaining that.
15' Dejagah takes it quickly, sliding a pass into Sadeghi on thr right side of the box. The defender drills a low cross into the centre of the box but Spahic manages to send it straight back out, and a deflection off of the Iranian sees the move end with a Bosnian goal kick.
14' Masoud eventually gets back up after a break in play and upon his return to the field he manages to win a free kick from Kolasinac on the right flank.
12' Pjanic takes the free kick and it is a big disappointment! His strike slams straight into the wall, and it seems to have caused Masoud some damage as he remains on the ground inside the box receiving treatment.
11' All the early pressure is coming from Bosnia! After a corner from the far side the ball breaks back out to Pjanic and he wriggles past a couple of players right on the corner of the box. Pooladi tugs his shirt and the Roma man goes to ground, hoping for a penalty. The referee, though, awards a free kick just outside the box.
9' DZEKO!! Another effort for the Manchester City striker, but once more it doesn't go in. Toni Susic breezes past Hosseini on the left and clips a great cross in from the byeline. Dzeko gets a solid header on the ball but Haghighi is able to pluck it out of the sky comfortably.
8' In the group's other game it is already Nigeria 1-1 Argentina. Lionel Messi gave the Albiceleste the lead but Ahmed Musa equalised instantly for the Super Eagles. That's the drawing of lots out the window, then! Still, a draw would be enough for the African side to ensure progression.
6' Bosnia look to work the ball into the box, with Pjanic attempting to dribble his way through. Eventually Masoud gets a foot in and hacks away the danger. Iran only had Reza ahead of the ball then! They do defend in numbers!
5' STAT: Edin Dzeko has attempted ten shots in the tournament so far, eight of which came against Nigeria. He is yet to score a World Cup goal.
4' GOOD SAVE HAGHIGHI! Dzeko is picked out in the box with a cross from the right and is allowed time to control it and let the ball bounce. He swings his right boot at it, firing a powerful shot towards goal only for the Iran keeper to tip it over the top.
3' Masoud knocks the ball past Spahic on the right wing and looks ready to continue on with possession behind the defender. However, Kolasinac comes across and steps between him and the ball, shepherding it out of play for a throw.
3' Iran are already sitting with a bank of five players across the midfield when not in possession. They will clearly look to limit the space for the Bosnian players in their half and then catch them on the counterattack with a quick break.
1' The match is underway in Salvador!
Team Melli gave a great account of themselves against Argentina, and were only undone in second-half stoppage time by some Lionel Messi magic. Given that performance, Carlos Queiroz clearly feels that team are up to the job of securing victory against Bosnia and has stuck with the same XI. Expect slightly more adventure from Iran today, though. They need to win this and the Portuguese coach has already declared this their World Cup final.
Iran (4-2-3-1): Haghighi; Hosseini, Sadeghi, Montazeri, Pooladi; Teymourian, Nekounam; Dejagah, Masoud, Hajsafi; Ghoochannejhad.
Rumours of a bust-up in the Bosnian dressing room have been dismissed by the coach and players, but for his side's final game of their campaign Safet Susic makes a number of changes. Out go Mensur Mujdza, Senad Lulic, Haris Medunjanin, Zvjedzan Misimovic, and Izet Hajrovic as the Dragons switch to a 4-4-2. Avdija Vrsajevic and Sead Kolasinac come in to the full-back positions, while Anel Hadzic and Tino Susic start in the wide midfield areas. The final change sees Vedad Ibisevic start in attack alongside Edin Dzeko.
Bosnia (4-4-2): Begovic; Vrsajevic, Sunjic, Spahic, Kolasinac; Hadzic, Pjanic, Besic, T. Susic; Dzeko, Ibisevic.
But first we need to play these 90 minutes, so let's take a look at who the two sides will line-up today.
Should Iran secure a 1-0 victory over Bosnia, and Argentina defeat Nigeria by the same score, Carlos Queiroz's side and the Super Eagles would be tied on four points. Furthermore, their goal difference and goals scored would be identical, and as the match between the two ended in a 0-0 draw there would be nothing to separate them. Therefore, and brace yourself, the team that qualifies would be down to the drawing of lots! It would be incredible if it came to that.
Commentary & Report: Goal dot com