Bosnia 3 Iran 1: Match highlights, key battle and what the result means
Published on Jun 26, 2014 3:18 AM
Without a goal in Brazil before kick-off, there was still hope for Iran in Group F as a win over Bosnia and a Nigeria defeat by Argentina could put Asia's top-ranked country through to the last 16.
But Carlos Queiroz's side, who defended so stoutly in the 1-0 loss to Argentina, collapsed at the back and allowed debutants Bosnia to exit the tournament with their heads held high.
- Needing to win, Iran had to attack but left gaps behind. The defence backed off in the 23rd minute and striker Edin Dzeko had time and space to drill a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
- Defender Jalal Hosseini gave the ball away in the 59th min and Bosnia counter-attacked rapidly, culminating with playmaker Miralem Pjanic curling the ball past goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi.
- Iran striker Reza Ghoochannejhad restored hope after he was left unmarked at the far post to tap in the 82nd min after a corner was not cleared.
- Less than a minute later, right-back Avdija Vrsajevic blasted home the killer third goal as Bosnia charged forward with Iran on the backfoot.
Edin Dzeko vs Alireza Haghighi
The 26-year-old goalkeeper, who is contracted to Russian club Rubin Kazan, became the first Iranian custodian to keep a World Cup clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Nigeria. He also had a near-perfect game against Argentina until Lionel Messi's magical late winner.
Facing him in Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, who has yet to score in Brazil.
The two men had come to symbolise their countries' efforts at this World Cup. Haghighi is the safe pair of hands behind an ultra-defensive team and Dzeko is regarded as one of the best players produced by Bosnia.
Man of the Match
Targeted for some "VIP" treatment by the Iranian players, Dzeko was body-checked, had his shirt tugged and his ankles snapped at by some of his opponents but the striker kept his cool.
To underline his class, he was hyper alert when Iran lost focus momentarily, giving him that small window of opportunity to dribble into a pocket of space to shoot.
When the shot came, it was low, hard and deadly accurate. To ice the cake, the ball went in off the post for added dramatic effect.
To further punish Iran, Dzeko was involved in the build-up to the second goal by Pjanic.
What the result means
Defeat meant that Iran bow out of the World Cup, still unable to get out of the first round after four tournaments. They have a mean defence but their attacking power is limited.
It is also a blow for Asian pride for the continent's No.1 team. Iran join Australia and Japan as the other Asian casualties while South Korea will complete the quartet of early exits if they lose to Belgium in their final game on Friday.
Although eliminated, Bosnia enjoyed a happy ending to their first World Cup. Ranked outsiders, the plucky Bosnians were never truly hammered in the tournament.