Salvador: Bosnia Hercegovina ended Iran’s World Cup knockout hopes by beating the Asians 3-1 in Salvador on Wednesday.Goals from Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Avdija Vrsajevic restored some pride after a hugely disappointing tournament for the Bosnians, whose elimination had already been confirmed following defeats to Argentina and Nigeria.
Iran, for whom Reza Ghoochannejad scored, needed to win the Group G game and hope Nigeria lost to Argentina in Porto Alegre, which they did 3-2, to maintain their hopes of reaching the last 16.Having failed to score in their previous two matches a 0-0 draw with Nigeria and 1-0 defeat to Argentina Iran never looked likely to cause a surprise by beating Bosnia.
Dzeko opened the scoring halfway through the first half as he was given time and space to take a couple of touches, line-up his sighter from distance and fire a sizzling low strike inside goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi’s left-hand post.Pjanic seemed to have settled the affair 11 minutes into the second half after running on to Vedad Ibisevic’s pass to fire home confidently.
Iran pulled a goal back inside the last 10 minutes when Ghoochannejad slotted home at the back post. But within 60 seconds Vrsajevic had scampered up the pitch from right back to fire across Haghighi and extinguish any Iranian hopes.
The result confirmed both teams’ exit as Argentina and Nigeria reached the knock-out stages by finishing first and second respectively in the table after the Argentinians’ 3-2 win in Porto Alegre.Bosnia, whose elimination had already been confirmed prior to the game, are left to rue what might have been after refereeing mistakes contributed to their 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their previous match.
Safet Susic’s side ended on a high to claim third and leave Iran bottom of the group with a single point from their draw with Nigeria.Salvador has now seen 21 World Cup goals in four group games after the Netherlands destroyed Spain 5-1, Germany thumped Portugal 4-0 and France dominated Switzerland 5-2 with a last 16 match and quarter-final still to come in the stadium.