Portugal overcome Bosnia to reach World Cup
Lisbon: Portugal reached next year`s World Cup finals after a 1-0 win in Bosnia on Wednesday gave them a 2-0 aggregate victory over the Balkan country in their two-legged playoff.
Midfielder Raul Meireles scored a 56th-minute winner for the Portuguese to silence a raucous 15,000 home crowd in the cauldron of the Bilino Polje stadium.
"Bosnia is a good team but Portugal was too strong for them because we have an explosive combination of confidence, desire and determination," Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz told a news conference.
"We also have the experience required at this level and it`s always a lot easier when you`ve won the first leg.”
"Losing our opening qualifying fixture to Denmark was a difficult moment for us and it gave some people the wrong impression about our ability.”
"I have to congratulate my team for a spirited performance, while Bosnia will have gained respect after getting this far and proving to be stiff opponents."
Portugal enjoyed more possession and missed two good chances either side of halftime, when Bosnia goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic denied Meireles and Nani with a pair of superb reflex saves.
But Hasagic was helpless when Nani won the ball on the edge of the penalty box, laid it on to Simao Sabrosa who in turn squared it for Meireles to sidefoot home the only goal.
Bosnia`s Sejad Salihovic was sent off for dissent in the 76th minute.
The home side, hoping to qualify for their first major tournament as an independent nation, had only one half-chance in the opening period, when Edin Dzeko chested the ball down for strike partner Vedad Ibisevic to fire over the bar from 18 metres.
Hasagic`s fine save from Nani was followed by two promising moves by Bosnia, whose misses were punished moments later when Meireles scored.
Meireles missed a good chance to score a second in the 70th minute before Salihovic was sent off for abusing a linesman, who was then hit with an object thrown from the terraces occupied by the home fans and had to receive medical attention.
Dzeko, the home team`s outstanding player, shot just wide from close range after the match resumed and Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo tipped over a ferocious Miralem Pjanic free kick in the closing stages.
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