Bosnian coach trims squad to 25 ahead of gathering in Zenica

Chelsea goalkeeper Begovic believes Bosnia can triumph after two tough matches

Chelsea’s Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic: “Ireland is a great team and it certainly won’t be easy for us.” Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea’s Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic: “Ireland is a great team and it certainly won’t be easy for us.” Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Mehmed Bazdarevic has cut three players from his initial squad of 28 as the home side gathered in Zenica yesterday to begin thir preparations for Friday night’s crucial European championship qualifier first leg.

Marin Ani?i? (Astana), Ermin Zec (Gabala) and Empoli’s Rade Kruni? all lost out as Bazdarevic trimmed the group back for the first time. It is expected that he will name his final squad of 23 on Wednesday with the additional two players staying on as cover in the event of injuries.

There is widespread optimism on the Bosnian side that Ireland can be beaten over the two legs and Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic suggests that the experience of losing previously to Portugal at this stage of the competition will stand to his countrymen as they look to make it through this time.

“Ireland is a great team and it certainly won’t be easy for us,” says the 28-year-old. “I expect two tough matches, but I also believe we have what it takes to go through these two games as eventual winners.

“We have experience from those past games against Portugal and we all know what to expect in this play-offs. We had a bad start to this qualifying campaign, but we showed character, we won some important games despite having been under tremendous pressure. So, the mood of the team is completely different now and we all believe in our goal.”

Bazdarevic has no major injury concerns ahead of the first game but Muhamed Beši?, the talented young Everton midfielder does miss the first leg through suspension.

Revised Bosnia and Herzegovina squad - Goalkeepers: Asmir Begović (Chelsea), Ibrahim Šehić (Qarabag), Jasmin Burić (Lech). Defenders: Emir Spahić (HSV), Ermin Bičakčić (Hoffenheim), Ervin Zukanović (Sampdoria), Toni Šunjić (Stuttgart), Edin Cocalić (Mechelen), Ognjen Vranješ (Gaziantep), Sead Kolašinac (Schalke), Mensur Mujdža (Freiburg). Midfielders: Muhamed Bešić (Everton), Miralem Pjanić (Roma), Anel Hadžić (Sturm), Srđan Grahovac (Rapid), Sejad Salihović (Guizhou), Haris Medunjanin (Deportivo), Senad Lulić (Lazio), Izet Hajrović (Eibar), Tino Sven Sušić (Hajduk). Forwards:  Edin Džeko (Roma), Vedad Ibišević (Herta), Milan Đurić (Cesena), Armin Hodžić (Dinamo), Edin Višća (Istanbul).

 

 

Asmir Begović (Chelsea), Ibrahim Šehić (Qarabağ), Jasmin Burić (Lech Poznań); Toni Šunjić (Stuttgart), Ognjen Vranješ (Gaziantepspor), Emir Spahić (Hamburg), Ermin Bičakčić (Hoffenheim), Mensur Mujdža (Freiburg), Sead Kolašinac (Schalke), Edin Cocalić (Mechelen), Ervin Zukanović (Sampdoria), Marin Aničić (Astana); Muhamed Bešić (Everton), Miralem Pjanić (Roma), Srdjan Grahovac (Rapid Vienna), Anel Hadžić (Sturm Graz), Haris Medunjanin (Deportivo la Coruña), Tino-Sven Sušić (Hajduk Split), Senad Lulić (Lazio), Sejad Salihović (Guizhou Rehne), Edin Višća (İstanbul BB); Rade Krunić (Empoli), Ermin Zec (Qäbälä), Izet Hajrović (Eibar), Edin Džeko (AS Roma), Armin Hodžić (Dinamo Zagreb), Milan Djurić (Cesena), Vedad Ibišević (Hertha).

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