Earlier today, FIFA held the group draw ceremony with delegations from all 32 teams in Brasil. Each delegation was there to see their country's first steps in the 2014 World Cup (hosted by Brasil). Bosnia's delegation was missing head-coach Safet Susic, who was said to have missed the flight, but FA President Elvedin Begic was there to witness the draw.
Bosnia was placed in 'Pot 4' and escaped being placed into 'Pot 2' (Italy didn't). Bosnia, who will make its first ever World Cup appearance in June, was drawn into Group F with Argentina, Nigeria and Iran. Fans have had various reactions to the draw; some feel it is a relatively easy group and that it could have been much worse while others feel it is a tough group.
Personally, I agree with the former in that it could have been much worse, but I also maintain the view that all World Cup groups are hard in some way, shape or form.
Without further ado, here's an analysis/introduction of each team in the group:
The team from 'Pot 1' in our group is Argentina, who is ranked 3rd in the latest FIFA rankings. Argentina is among the toughest teams considering their squad depth and well-known players. Bosnia will need to focus on Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain should they be called up come May 2014. The two teams are somewhat familiar with one another after Bosnia recently played Argentina last month in St. Louis and lost 2-0 thanks to a brace from Sergio Aguero. There were injury concerns for both sides going into the match as Mensur Mujdza, Senad Lulic and Sejad Salihovic all missed out on the match. While Lionel Messi was unable to play for the Argentinians. Argentina can play a direct style or a possession-based style depending on the match. The South American side are very efficient when it comes to counter attacks and having many players who are good on the ball and possess many technical qualities. Argentina is tipped by most to finish 1st in the group and the opening group match will be between Bosnia and Argentina at the famous Maracana.
The team from 'Pot 4' in the group is Bosnia, currently ranked 21st in the FIFA rankings. The "Dragons" or "Zmajevi" will be making their first ever World Cup appearance as an independent nation. The main players are Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic, Asmir Begovic, Senad Lulic, Sejad Salihovic, Vedad Ibisevic, Emir Spahic and Zvjezdan Misimovic. Led by former Yugoslavia player and PSG legend Safet Susic, the team has gained the love and respect from many world-wide. Their agile and versatile game play has been a headache for many teams as of late. Their play can consist of possession based football, a winger-focused style, a direct style and a counter style. Bosnia is expected to cause problems for many according to the latest predictions from analysts being compared to a land mine. Recently, Bosnia lost 2-0 to Argentina in a game that was more experimental than anything. Nonetheless, many expect the newcomers to compete for that 2nd spot.
The team from 'Pot 2' in our group is Nigeria, currently ranked 36 in the latest FIFA rankings. Nigeria are reigning Africa Cup Of Nations (AFCON) champions beating Burkina Faso in the final last year. Their main players are Ahmed Musa, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Vicent Enyeama and Victor Obinna. Nigeria can play a very physical and fast-paced game especially with their speedy wingers. However, the do also possess the players in midfield that can help retain the ball and attempt to frustrate the opponent. Defensively, Nigeria is inconsistent. At the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the Nigeria defense struggled to deal with Spain and Uruguay. However, at the 2013 AFCON, Nigeria's defense was very well organized and tough to beat. Bosnia plays Nigeria in the 2nd fixture of the group. Many tip Nigeria to be Bosnia's main competitor for that 2nd spot.
The team from 'Pot 3' in our group is Iran. The "Persian Stars" are ranked as the number 1 team in Asia and are 45th in the world. Their main players are Javad Nekounam, Andranik Teymourian, Ashkan Dejagah, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Jalal Hosseini and Ehsan Hajsafi. They've won 8 of their last 10 matches and only conceded 2 in their last 6 matches. Their recent form under Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz has been attributed to their solid defensive display and their fluid playing style that has allowed players from various positions to contribute to their attack. Iran is the bookies favorite to finish last in the group, but they could provide a big surprise come June. Bosnia and Iran have played twice in the past (2009 and 2006) with Iran winning both (3-2 in '09, 5-2 in '06). Bosnia and Iran will meet in the 3rd and final fixture of the group stage.
All in all, the group may or may not seem enticing. However, there's plenty to be weary of, and complacency must be avoided. Many have predicted that Bosnia will be a surprise team come June of 2014. Playing Argentina first will help put any jitters or fears to bed, and we must focus on Nigeria and Iran no matter the result in the opening fixtures. Getting 5 or 6 points in group stages would most likely secure a spot in the Round of 16 most likely, and it looks like we could play Group E's first place winner (Honduras, Switzerland, France and Ecuador).