World Cup qualifiers: Bosnia-Herzegovina qualify for World Cup in Brazil
Last Updated: 16/10/13 12:02am
Vedad Ibisevic: On target for Bosnia-Herzegovina
Eighteen years after playing their maiden international match, Bosnia-Herzegovina qualified for the 2014 World Cup by beating Lithuania 1-0.
They knew that a matching of Greece's result was all they needed to do in Group H and by doing so - however tough it was - they are headed for Brazil.
That will be a far cry from their first game which came nine days after the 1995 Dayton Agreement, with this victory likely to be heartily celebrated by Bosnians worldwide, let alone the thousands who made the trip to Kaunas.
Vedad Ibisevic was their hero, the Stuttgart striker scoring midway through the second half after 67 minutes of agony, during which Greece had taken the lead in their game against Liechtenstein.
As news came through that Greece were leading, Bosnia-Herzegovina knew they had to step up and with eight minutes on the clock they fashioned their first chance.
Miralem Pjanic's free-kick from the left was a dipping one and Giedrius Arlauskis had to be on his game to touch it over.
Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko then whipped a shot wide and Ibisevic should have done better with a close-range header as a sense of tension developed.
That was exacerbated in the 23rd minute as Ibisevic and Sejad Salihovic both went close, while a scare was forthcoming at the other end as Mindaugas Kalonas and Saulius Mikoliunas both tried their luck for the hosts.
Pjanic led a Bosnian response with a 25-yarder which Arlauskis kept out and the chances continued to rack up as Ibisevic headed wide and Dzeko had a shot blocked - but no goal was forthcoming before a break which brought Bosnia's task into greater focus.
The pattern continued after the restart as Pjanic was denied by Arlauskis and Ermin Bicakcic scissor-kicked over, while Pjanic - again - and Zvjezdan Misimovic had further close shaves.
Haris Medunjanin and Senad Lulic joined the procession with off-target shots, while Pjanic remained persistent yet consistently off the mark.
Pjanic was getting closer, though, and worked Arlauskis in an act which was the pre-cursor to Ibisevic's goal.
Dzeko was its creator, passing from the left for his team-mate who did the rest from six yards.
The relief among the Bosnian contingent was palpable but eagerness turned to nervousness very quickly and Asmir Begovic made his first save of the night to keep out Mindaugas Kalonas.
Their defence would stand tall, though, and not even a second Greek goal could shake their focus and ruin their moment.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 15th Oct - Group E
Cyprus0 - 0Albania
Norway1 - 1Iceland
Switzerland1 - 0Slovenia
Tue 15th Oct - Group F
Azerbaijan1 - 1Russia
Israel1 - 1N Ireland
Portugal3 - 0Luxembourg
Tue 15th Oct - Group G
Greece2 - 0Liechtenstein
Lithuania0 - 1Bos & Herz
Latvia2 - 2Slovakia
Tue 15th Oct - Group D
Hungary2 - 0Andorra
Turkey0 - 2Holland
Romania2 - 0Estonia
Tue 15th Oct - Group B
Bulgaria0 - 1Czech Rep
Denmark6 - 0Malta
Italy2 - 2Armenia
Tue 15th Oct - Group A
Serbia5 - 1Macedonia
Scotland2 - 0Croatia
Belgium1 - 1Wales
Tue 15th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands0 - 3Austria
Rep Ireland3 - 1Kazakhstan
Sweden3 - 5Germany
Tue 15th Oct - Group H
San Marino0 - 8Ukraine
Montenegro2 - 5Moldova
England2 - 0Poland
Tue 15th Oct - Group I
France3 - 0Finland
Spain2 - 0Georgia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I