Dzeko’s Bosnia make history in Lithuania
- 15 October 2013 19:56
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
They came within a whisker of the Euro 2012 and World Cup 2010 finals but Bosnia-Herzegovina have finally made history by reaching their first major tournament.
Vedad Ibisevic’s 67th minute strike, set up by Edin Dzeko, sent them on their way to Brazil 2014.
Bosnia needed a win away at Lithuania in Kaunas or to better Greece’s result against Liechtenstein to be sure of their place in the tournament.
Sufet Susic’s men were made to wait for their breakthrough and Lithuania were very much in the first-half, with Cernych forcing Amir Begovic into a fine save from distance after 20 minutes.
Bosnia grew into the game and pressure accumulated on the Lithuanian goal but the finishing touch was missing and Dzeko will have been disappointed to only head into the keeper’s arms from ten yards out from a good cross as the half-time break loomed.
Greece’s half-time lead in the group’s other game meant that nerves were surely beginning to become a factor for a Bosnian side that has twice missed out on major tournaments at the play-off stages.
To avoid the dreaded two-legged showdown, they needed to breach the Lithuanian goal which they finally did to the joy of the whole Bosnian nation after 67 minutes courtesy of Vedad Ibisevic.
Dzeko, winning his 56th cap, had a major role in the goal’s creation, laying the ball across the face of goal from the by-line for Ibisevic to tap home from close range.
"It wasn’t plain sailing for Susic’s side in the final 20 minutes and Begovic was required to make a couple of good saves but they held on to clinch a place in the World Cup finals for the very first time."
...Lithuania v Bosnia...
Elsewhere, France knew that only a minor miracle would enable them to qualify outright on Tuesday night.
A Spain slip-up at home to Georgia and a handsome win at home to Finland may have opened the door for this unlikely event but Didier Deschamps’ men must be content with a place in the play-offs.
They did their part by winning 3-0 at the Stade de France courtesy of Franck Ribery’s early goal, a Tovio own goal and Karim Benzema’s late strike.
Stevan Jovetic’s Montenegro completed their qualifying campaign with a disappointing 5-2 defeat to Moldova in Podgorica.
Jovetic did equalise from the penalty spot and added another in stoppage time - two of four goals from City players on an otherwise positive night of international football.
Only pride was at stake for Serbia in their final qualifier against Macedonia in Jagodina and they got it with a comprehensive 5-1 triumph.
Aleksandar Kolarov assisted Dusan Basta for the second goal, then added the third himself – his fourth for his country.
Both he and Matija Nastasic completed the 90 minutes.
Earlier in the day, England under-19 international Shay Facey helped the Three Lions to a second clean sheet in three UEFA u19 Championship qualifiers in their 1-0 win over Switzerland.
The City EDS right-back made a crucial intervention with 20 minutes to go to preserve England’s narrow one-goal lead in Slovenia given to them by Derby County’s Mason Bennett.
England progress to the Elite Round of the competition with seven points after topping the group with a win and a draw in their other two games against Andorra and Slovenia respectively.
Shay played all three matches of the qualifying competition.
Finally,with Sergio Aguero released from national duty after Argentina's achieved victory over Peru on Friday, Pablo Zabaleta was an unused sub for the Albiceleste’s final qualifier away to Uriguay which ended in a 3-2 win for the hosts.