Bosnia and Herzegovina's first FIFA World Cup finals campaign will come to an early end as Peter Odemwingie's first-half strike gave Nigeria a crucial Group F victory in Cuiaba.
In an entertaining contest at the Arena Pantanal, Nigeria struck first a minute before the half-hour when Peter Odemwingie finished off after excellent work from Emmanuel Emenike. Having lost to Argentina on their finals debut, Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to avoid a second defeat to stay in the competition, but were unable to find an equaliser and are now unable to progress regardless of the result of their final game against Iran.
Nigeria had struggled to create chances in their opening goalless draw with Iran yet showed plenty of attacking intent from the outset, Odemwingie and John Obi Mikel narrowly missing the target early on. Bosnia and Herzegovina were not without a threat of their own however, and nearly broke the deadlock midway through the opening period as Miralem Pjanić set Edin Džeko in on goal; Vincent Enyeama stood up well to block the shot.
Instead the first, and only, goal went to Nigeria, in the 29th minute. Emenike powered past Emir Spahić down the right and crossed for Odemwingie to tuck low past Asmir Begović. The goalkeeper denied Ahmed Musa before half-time and was heavily involved again early in the second period, twice pushing away Michel Babatunde strikes from distance and then advancing to block Emenike's effort with his legs.
Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Safet Sušić introduced Vedad Ibišević as a second striker to support Džeko, but his team were struggling to create problems for a well-organised Nigeria side. With 15 minutes remaining, however, came the chance they had been waiting for as Zvjezdan Misimović's corner found Ibišević; the substitute could only head over from close range.
There was to be late drama as Džeko headed straight at Enyeama a minute into added time. Still the Bosnians were not finished, and in the final second Džeko pulled down a long ball and sent an effort towards goal; Enyeama's leg diverted the ball on to the post and Nigeria's first finals win since 1998, and their opponents' elimination, were finally assured.
In Group F's early game Argentina made it two wins from two, and booked their place in the last 16 with a match to spare, thanks to an added-time strike from captain Lionel Messi – who had also scored the decisive goal against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The FC Barcelona forward's sumptuous effort in Belo Horizonte proved enough to defeat a determined Iran side 1-0 and secured progress ahead of their final match with Nigeria.