Bosnia coach Safet Susic banks on Edin Dzeko to pull the strings in their crucial Group F game against Nigeria in Cuiaba on Saturday.
The Manchester City striker, whose ten strikes- second best in Europe after Holland’s Robin van Persie- in the qualification games helped the European nation to their debut World Cup appearance, is tipped as an important member of the ‘Golden Lillies’ squad.
The legendary Paris St-Germain (PSG) midfielder and ex-Yugoslavia international has therefore likened the 28-year-old’s role for Bosnia to what Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar does for Argentina, Portugal and Brazil respectively.
“Dzeko is equally important to us as Ronaldo is for Portugal, as Neymar is to Brazil and as Messi is to Argentina,” Susic, 58, said.
The World Cup debutantes’ tournament in Brazil will almost certainly be over if they lose against the African champions in their first ever meeting at the Arena Pantanal.
Having lost their opening group game to Argentina, Susic will rather prefer his team to get at their opponents right from the blast of the whistle.
Bosnia attempted more shots on goal (11) than their opponents Argentina (9) in the opening loss at the Maracana Stadium in Rio and Susic insists they are second best to the two-time champions.
“We are in the most uncomfortable of positions,” he admitted.
“But we haven’t come here to learn, we have players in top class European clubs, players who have acquired a great deal of experience. We have self-imposed ambitions to make it out of the group, and so not come here for people to see us, we have ambitions to progress out of the group, it won’t be easy, but I’m convinced we haven’t said our last words.
“After Argentina we are the best team in the group.”
(Opta Stats was used in this report.)
Kick-off time: 11:00pm (Nigerian time)