Bosnia defeat sends Iran crashing at World Cup

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 25, 2014, 23:58 PM IST

Salvador: Edin Dzeko weighed in with a first-half goal as Bosnia-Herzegovina knocked Iran out of the World Cup with a 3-1 win in Salvador on Wednesday.

Iran had needed to beat Bosnia and hope Nigeria lost to Argentina to keep alive faint hopes of reaching the last 16, but Carlos Queiroz`s side came up well short in the Group F clash.

A powerful strike by Manchester City star Dzeko gave Bosnia an early lead before Miralem Pjanic added a second just before the hour to settle a relatively dull affair at Salvador`s Arena Fonte Nova.

The game burst into life in the final minutes as Iran striker Reza Ghoochannejad netted his side`s first goal of Brazil 2014, but Bosnia replied immediately with an Avdija Vrsajevic goal.

The result confirmed both teams` exit as Argentina and Nigeria reached the knock-out stages by finishing first and second respectively in the table after the Argentinians` 3-2 win in Porto Alegre.

Bosnia, whose elimination had already been confirmed prior to the game, are left to rue what might have been after refereeing mistakes contributed to their 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their previous match.

Safet Susic`s side ended on a high to claim third and leave Iran bottom of the group with a single point from their draw with Nigeria.

Salvador has now seen 21 World Cup goals in four group games after the Netherlands destroyed Spain 5-1, Germany thumped Portugal 4-0 and France dominated Switzerland 5-2 with a last 16 match and quarter-final still to come in the stadium.

Dzeko had the best of the early chances when he fired over after a powerful run into the area, then headed straight at Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi.

His much-threatened goal arrived on 23 minutes when Dzeko unleashed a fierce drive into the bottom right-hand corner past two defenders, which gave Haghighi no chance.

Iran almost hit back immediately as midfielder Masoud Shojaei clattered the crossbar.

But for all of Iran`s attacking efforts, Bosnia`s Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Bgeovic was solid between the posts, especially from crosses.

With his side 1-0 down at the break, Iran`s Queiroz brought on experienced forward Khosro Heydari to boost their attack.

But Bosnia grabbed the goal which killed off Iran`s hopes from a defensive error.

A poorly timed pass out of the Iran defence was snapped up by Tino-Sven Susic who fed Pjanic and the Roma midfielder drilled his shot home on 59 minutes.

Charlton Athletic striker Ghoochannejad finally got Iran`s first Brazil 2014 goal when he converted a cross eight minutes from time, although replays suggested he was offside.

Bosnia responded immediately to snuff out any hopes of a fight back as right-back Vrsajevic smashed home his shot after a charging run down the right flank.