Though they couldn’t advance themselves, Bosnia-Herzegovina made sure Iran wouldn’t move on to the Round of 16 either.
Scoring one goal in their two previous matches, the Dragons unloaded their attack for a 3-1 victory over Iran Wednesday in Group F play at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.
At the start of group play, first-time qualifier Bosnia-Herzegovina were seen as the biggest threats to Argentina with several top flight attackers like Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic, and that duo finally showed their potential.
Dzeko shined with a brilliant touch shot off a fast break inside the box in the 23rd minute, converting Pjanic’s assist and putting Iran’s hopes in immediate danger. It was the Manchester City striker’s 36th international goal.
Just before the hour mark, Pjanic got on the board with a right-footed strike to the bottom right corner off midfielder Tino Susic’s through ball.
The encouraging tournament play of Pjanic may give Dragons supporters reason to believe in a run in 2018. The 24-year-old has been a solid contributor for Roma, and should be joined other young, developing talent like Sead Kolasinac and Muhamed Besic.
Iran finally responded with a strike in the 82nd minute, but the play was clearly offside. Forward Reza Ghoochanneljhad slid the ball into an open net off a ground cross from captain and midfielder Javad Nekounam. It was a rare break from form for the Dragons backline, as they only surrendered two Iran shots on goal.
The World Cup struggles continue for Iran. In their fourth World Cup appearance, Iran has yet to reach the knockout phase.
But this was Bosnia-Herzegovina’s day, as one minute later defender Avdija Vrasjevic scored his first international goal in his 14th appearance.