Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Safet Sušić is confident his team can maintain their perfect Group G record when they come up against Greece, a side they have never beaten at senior international level.
Sušić's charges kicked off their FIFA World Cup campaign with the biggest win in the country's history, hat-tricks from Edin Džeko and Vedad Ibišević contributing to an 8-1 triumph in Liechtenstein. That was followed by a 4-1 victory at home to Latvia. Sušić is eyeing a similarly positive result on Friday to remain on track for an automatic qualification place.
"We have the quality and strength to finish top of the group and qualify automatically for Brazil," he said. "We have started well with two wins from two, but we are expecting a difficult match in Piraeus. We are playing against a major competitor, and if can get a favourable result our chances of qualifying will increase."
The visitors will have a psychological barrier to overcome on Greek soil, though, having lost four of the five previous meetings between the nations. Greece won both fixtures in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2008 and, including a goalless draw in a friendly in August 2011, have conceded only twice in the five encounters.
Zvjezdan Misimović, who featured in both defeats by Greece in the 2008 edition, has four goals to his name already on the road to Brazil and is under no illusions about the test that the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finalists will provide.
"Greece are dangerous opponents for us," said FC Dinamo Moskva midfielder Misimović, Bosnia's most-capped player with 69 appearances. "If we want to go to Brazil, we have to end the bad run of defeats against Greece. The hosts will be favourites, but if we play to the best of our ability we can not only beat Greece but any team in the world."
Their poor record aside, a game against Greece always revives happy memories for Bosnia and Herzegovina as their first-ever competitive fixture was against them on 1 September 1996. Friday's match will show how far they have come in 16 years.