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Bosnia and Herzegovina in focus

Published: Monday 7 November 2011, 9.03CET
Bosnia and Herzegovina take on Portugal in the play-offs once again, looking to make their finals tournament debut at UEFA EURO 2012; checks out their recent continental pedigree.
Bosnia and Herzegovina in focus
Emir Spahić (left) celebrates a Bosnia and Herzegovina goal against France ©Getty Images


Published: Monday 7 November 2011, 9.03CET

Bosnia and Herzegovina in focus

Bosnia and Herzegovina take on Portugal in the play-offs once again, looking to make their finals tournament debut at UEFA EURO 2012; checks out their recent continental pedigree.

Miroslav Blažević stepped down after the FIFA World Cup disappointment and his replacement Safet Sušić endured a mixed start to his first qualifying campaign; his new charges were 3-0 winners in Luxembourg in their first fixture, but then lost 2-0 at home to France and could only muster a 1-1 draw in Albania in their third game. Although Romania were beaten 2-1 in Zenica, Edin Džeko scoring a crucial late winner, the return fixture ended in a 3-0 reverse as Bosnia and Herzegovina struggled for consistency. A four-match winning run – incorporating a pair of crucial victories against Belarus – proved just the tonic and set up a final-day decider against France; the visitors looked set for a famous win when Džeko gave them a first-half lead in Paris, only for a late Samir Nasri equaliser from the penalty spot to send them into the play-offs.

2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying
Group 5: P10 W6 D1 L3 F25 A13 Pts19
Play-offs: Lost 2-0 on aggregate to Portugal

Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoyed real success in their qualifying group, finishing runners-up behind European champions Spain and ahead of UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finalists Turkey. Among the highlights were a 4-2 victory in Belgium and a 7-0 defeat of Estonia, their record international victory to date. On an individual level, Edin Džeko's nine goals were an impressive haul in the country's fourth participation in World Cup qualifying. However, there was no fairytale ending for coach Blažević and his men, who lost 1-0 in both legs of their play-off with 2006 World Cup semi-finalists Portugal.

Qualifying Group C: P12 W4 D1 L7 F16 A22 Pts13

Bosnia and Herzegovina's third appearance in UEFA European Championship qualifying ended with them finishing fourth in a group won by defending champions Greece. The team started out with their biggest away victory, 5-2 in Malta, but followed up with a three-match winless sequence which concluded with a 4-0 home defeat by Greece and the replacement of coach Blaž Slišković with Fuad Muzurović. The team suddenly found their stride with wins in Norway and then at home to Turkey through Adnan Ćustović's last-minute goal. After making it three in a row against Malta, however, their fortunes nosedived and they closed their campaign with five consecutive defeats.

UEFA European Championship best performance
Of their three previous qualifying competitions, Bosnia and Herzegovina's best showing was for UEFA EURO 2004, when their hopes of a tournament berth remained alive until the last day. With four wins and a draw from their first seven games they needed a home victory in the final match against a Denmark side they had already defeated in Copenhagen to book a place in Portugal. In the event, a 1-1 draw in Sarajevo meant the Danes took top spot in Group 2 with 15 points, followed by Norway and Romania on 14 and Bosnia and Herzegovina with 13.

Key facts
Bosnia and Herzegovina's two biggest victories in UEFA European Championship qualifiers have both been away. Elvir Baljić scored all four as they came from a goal down to beat Estonia 4-1 in Tallinn on 9 October 1999, before the aforementioned 5-2 win against Malta on 2 October 2006 in Ta'Qali and the 3-0 win in Luxembourg in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012. Current coach Safet Sušić played for the former Yugoslavia at the 1984 UEFA European Championship in France.

Play-off record
2010 FIFA World Cup

Portugal 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-1 Portugal

Last updated: 02/10/14 1.33CET

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