Revenge is a dish best served cold. This is the mindset of Bosnia as they make preparations for their EURO 2012 playoff fixture against Portugal. These teams met in the playoffs for the 2010 World Cup two years ago and Portugal was the victorious side. Portugal joined into the World’s greatest soccer tournament while Bosnia was sent home in utter disappointment. Now, Bosnia needs to make amends, and this time they have the firepower to do so.
Back in 2009, Bosnia fell prey to a series of unfortunate near misses in the playoff matches. In the first match, they struck the post three times and ended up losing both matches by a score line of 1-0. It was a terribly unfortunate display for the side rich with emerging talent but now they are more well prepared.
Their attacking forces are maturing. Edin Dzeko, their main striker, is rapidly becoming a world class star at Manchester City.
Dzeko was brought to the Midlands in a record breaking deal worth more than 30 million pounds last winter and has fit in like a glove with the side. He and his team are dominating the Premier League with flair and style. Supporting Dzeko will be the young Bosnian sensation, MiralemPjanic. The 21 year old attacking midfielder is now playing for Roma but had great success on the big stage with Olympic Lyon.
At Lyon, Pjanic scored the crucial goal against Real Madrid in a UEFA Champions League knockout round match that saw the French side into the quarterfinals of the tournament. Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely have that goal
in his head during the playoffs as his club is Real Madrid. Bosnia also has strength and maturity at the back with their captain and defensive leader, Emir Spahic.
Portugal has been a regular side in major tournaments this past decade and always expect to compete for the title with Ronaldo at the helm. They have a mass of great talent including players like Nani, Raul Meireles, and Pepe. Unfortunately, the side has never really gelled as a single unit, and too often they look towards Ronaldo for creative influence. The time could be ripe for a grand upset.
I expect that to happen this time around. Maybe I simply want to see the underdog rise up against the Portugese because their players look like arrogant pricks. Maybe its because Portugese players are the most infamous divers in the game. But really, I think Christiano Ronaldo needs a reality check. If he ever wants to truthfully get on the same level as his rival Lionel Messi, he needs to dominate in a big tournament. I don’t think he should have that opportunity and I think that the energetic Bosnian side has every reason in the world to fight to the bitter end in this one. Edin Dzeko needs a major tournament to elevate to superstar status and once again, Portugal stands in his way. I expect Dzeko to score two goals across the fixtures and for Bosnia to pull the upset with an aggregate score of 4-2. Watch the matches this upcoming this Friday and next Tuesday. It should be an enthralling tie.