Bosnia meet Iran as World Cup Group F comes to a conclusion. Experts Sasa Ibrulj and Mahan Sajadi preview the action.
Sasa Ibrulj on Bosnia: Bosnia-Herzegovina waits for this match with their bags packed and it seems that not many care about the result or the team. Even though the coach Safet Susic keeps saying that they want to win to pay off to the fans, the truth is that the atmosphere inside the team is poor and that all just can't wait to leave Brazil. Of course, this could be an advantage - Bosnia-Herzegovina will play with no pressure at all, just enjoying the match that has the same significance as any other friendly that they played against Iran. And they did play Iran five times and - worth of mentioning - never managed to beat them. The question is if Safet Susic will start with the best team he has, but I expect him to return to his old 4-4-2 system, simply because he has nothing to lose.
Mahan Sajadi on Iran: There are no new injury concerns to report with a full squad at Queiroz disposable. The change that Queiroz is contemplating would probably see the introduction of youngster Alireza Jahanbakhsh in place of Masoud, who was largely disappointing against Argentina. Jahanbakhsh brief cameo appearances thus far have been from the bench though his bright turn of pace and trickery against Javier Mascherano to set up Reza Ghoochannejhad with a glorious chance against Argentina showed glimpses of his huge potential that have recently linked the youngster with a move to Manchester United.
Sasa Ibrulj: The Dragons failed to reach the second stage after losing to Nigeria, but the bitter taste of injustice did not disappear. Bosnia was not immune to poor tactical decisions and many mistakes that they made in that match, but disallowed goal is still the central topic. Two losses in two matches can be a double-edge sword for Bosnia and their counterparts - if BiH concedes early, they could easily fall apart, but on the other hand, as I said, they have no pressure and that could help if Iran decides to go all-in.
Mahan Sajadi: Iran will take immense confidence from a performance against Argentina that combined defensive resilience with attacking adventure. Like Nigeria and Argentina respectively, Bosnia and Herzegovina are going to find it tough to break through Queiroz’s hard-working, disciplined and tactically astute setup.If there are any hopes of progressing Iran must go all out for the win so expect In Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador for Carlos Queiroz to temporarily shelve his conservative 4-2-3-1 game-plan and go for a more adventurous offensive in order to book Iran their first ever appearance in the last 16. Iran are unbeaten in five past meetings with Bosnia between, notching four wins and a draw.
WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS
Bosnia’s Safet Susic: "We'll make some changes, you can expect some new names, because it is too difficult to play all three matches with a same team. We played attacking football in both matches and we will do the same here. Our problem was not the way of play or style, it was the fact that we were not efficient enough".
Iran’s Carlos Quieroz: "There is nothing to celebrate yet, my major concern is to keep players focused. We didn’t come here to win the trophy, nobody expected that from Iran, but we raised our expectations and we raised our dreams. We want to play the match with one goal in mind – to fulfil our dream of reaching the last 16.”
Sasa Ibrulj: If Susic decides to drop Zvjezdan Misimovic and give a key role to Pjanic, than Roma midfielder could be the one to make a difference. Iran will push to score, because they need to win this, and that could open the space in the final third, the one that Pjanic is capable of using.
Mahan Sajadi: Much of Iran’s good work in Brazil has been built on an extremely disciplined defensive structure but against the might of Argentina, Iran showed plenty of will to break with speed and attack dangerously, going close on several occasions. Whilst Queiroz may field a more attacking line-up against Bosnia. The creative force in the side remains Ashkan Dejagah. Against Argentina Dejagah twice tested Romero with good saves and should have been given a penalty against Zabaleta. If Iran are going to score and ultimately beat Bosnia Iran will sense Dejagah could be the difference between the two sides.
Sasa Ibrulj: I would go for over 2.5 goals at a solid 1.98. If Bosnia-Herzegovina scores the first one, Iran will go throw the kitchen sink and expose themselves, so I expect a lot of goals.
Mahan Sajadi: First goal Ashkan Dejagah at 11.00
Sasa Ibrulj: Bosnia 3-2 Iran at odds of 29.00
Mahan Sajadi: Bosnia 1-2 Iran at odds of 12.00