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Bosnia and Herzegovina target 'miracle' in France

Published: Monday 10 October 2011, 9.15CET
"With a little bit of luck we can maybe pull off a miracle," said Miralem Pjanić as Bosnia and Herzegovina, sure of a play-off, aim for the win in France that will bring automatic qualification.
by Matthew Spiro
from Paris
Bosnia and Herzegovina target 'miracle' in France
Bosnia and Herzegovina will qualify with a win in France ©Fedja Krvavac
Published: Monday 10 October 2011, 9.15CET

Bosnia and Herzegovina target 'miracle' in France

"With a little bit of luck we can maybe pull off a miracle," said Miralem Pjanić as Bosnia and Herzegovina, sure of a play-off, aim for the win in France that will bring automatic qualification.

France may take a one-point cushion and home advantage into Tuesday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group D decider, but Bosnia and Herzegovina duo Miralem Pjanić and Emir Spahić are convinced that "with a little bit of luck" the visitors can spring an upset in Paris.

France are favourites and they won't surrender their superiority easily, but with a little bit of luck we can maybe pull off a miracle
Miralem Pjanić
We know a draw is good enough but it's better to be positive and to try to get ahead
Anthony Réveillère

Safet Sušić's men began their qualifying campaign with the aim of reaching the play-offs, just as for the last FIFA World Cup. And that appeared to be the best they could hope for when a resurgent French side ran out deserved 2-0 winners in Sarajevo back in September 2010.

However, a run of four consecutive wins, including Friday's 5-0 triumph over Luxembourg, has pulled them to within touching distance of Les Blues. While a play-off at least is now guaranteed, nobody in the Bosnian camp has given up hope of clinching automatic qualification.

"We will travel to Paris in a relieved frame of mind because we have already achieved our initial goal," explained captain Spahić, who will be familiar with many of the France players having spent two seasons at Montpellier Hérault SC before joining Sevilla FC in the summer. "France are a top team and even if they are missing some players they will be strong. But we could beat them with a bit of luck. It's not impossible."

Former Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Pjanić echoed the centre-back's thoughts, insisting the pressure is all on the home side. "We have nothing to lose," said the AS Roma playmaker. "France are favourites and they won't surrender their superiority easily, but with a little bit of luck we can maybe pull off a miracle in Paris."

While the French players will need no introduction to Spahić and Pjanić, Samir Nasri will notice another familiar face in the opposition ranks. The 24-year-old creator plays alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina striker Edin Džeko at Manchester City FC and is fully aware of the danger his club-mate may provide.

"I really want to win because I don't want Edin teasing me afterwards on the training ground," Nasri said. "We'll have to be careful with him, but he's not the only one. They have a lot of good players, like [Zvjezdan] Misimović and Pjanić. Focusing on Edin would be a mistake."

Les Bleus are also in confident mood following last Friday's 3-0 win against Albania, which extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches. But full-back Anthony Réveillère, who scored after coming off the bench, is predicting a far sterner test.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina are more dangerous so we'll need to play well and show some patience," said the Lyon defender, who could continue at left-back if Patrice Evra and Eric Abidal fail to recover from injuries.

"We know a draw is good enough but it's better to be positive and to try to get ahead," the 31-year-old continued. "We're at home and the fans will be like a 12th man for us."

Last updated: 11/10/11 19.35CET

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