By TIM FONTENAULT
Bosnia and Herzegovina is leaving Brazil earlier than it had hoped, but there is cause for celebration after a historic win Wednesday afternoon.
Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic, and Avdija Vrsajevic scored goals to lift Bosnia to its first World Cup win, a 3-1 victory over Iran. Both countries are leaving Brazil, as Argentina and Nigeria have advanced to the Round of 16 from Group F.
Dzeko, long the superstar for the emerging European nation, could have kept Bosnia alive in Group F had he scored late against Nigeria. Unable to do so, Dzeko and Bosnia were eliminated after two matches. Iran was still alive entering Wednesday, but Bosnia was not going to do them any favors.
The towering forward from Manchester City opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Pjanic found Dzeko in open space about 30 yards from goal. Dzeko took the ball on his left foot and fired it off the post and into the net.
Bosnia continued to dominate the game into the second half. In the 59th minute, they scored again. Tino-Sven Susic played a perfect pass to Pjanic, who found himself alone in the box, needing only to slot the ball past Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi to the far post.
Iran, which needed to win to have any chance of advancing to the next round, gave themselves some hope in the 82nd minute. Reza Ghoochannejhad got open in the box and tapped in a cross from Javad Nekounam to cut Bosnia’s lead to 2-1.
The Iranians had barely gotten back to midfield for the kickoff by the time Bosnia scored again to put the game away. Vrsajevic dribbled the ball into the box with no one around to get in his way. With the entire far side of the goal to work with, Vrsajevic fired a right-footed shot to the far post, beating Haghighi and ruining any hopes Iran had of going through.
Glad to see the Bosnian and Herzegovina get a result? Wish the Iranians had a more successful tournament? See either of these countries looking more dangerous in the future?
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