MANAUS Brazil (Reuters) - Bosnia will be happy with a draw against Nigeria and will not take too many risks even if a share of the spoils leaves their progress from Group F into the last 16 hanging by a thread, coach Safet Susic said on Tuesday.
Should they fail to beat Nigeria in Cuiaba on Saturday, the Bosnians, who lost their opening game to Argentina 2-1, will almost certainly have to defeat Iran in their final match and hope that other results go their way.
“We are not the kind of team able to play for a goalless draw but we just can’t throw caution to the wind against the Nigerians because they are rock solid at the back and dangerous on the break,” Susic told reporters in the team’s Guaruja base.
“I still haven’t decided what the formation will be and whether to play (striker Vedad) Ibisevic from the start because we cannot afford to be naive.
“Defeat means an early exit from the tournament while a draw would leave us in with a fair chance of progressing.”
Ibisevic, who scored eight goals in qualifying in a lethal partnership with Edin Dzeko (10), was left on the bench against Argentina and scored shortly after coming on as a substitute at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.
Bosnia started in a cagey 4-5-1 formation, in contrast to an attack-minded 4-4-2 which brought them 30 goals in the qualifying campaign.
Needing that free-scoring form to advance into the knockout stages of their first major tournament as an independent nation, Susic conceded he was tempted to start Ibisevic against the Nigerians.
“He is a strong candidate. I always said he would definitely start the one game we have to win but we still haven’t determined whether it’s the clash with Nigeria. It all depends how things pan out.”
Midfielder Sejad Salihovic missed the Argentina game through injury and Susic hinted he could make a full recovery in time for the Nigeria clash.
“He trained partially yesterday and will do the same today.
If he comes through the full session tomorrow he will be in contention for a place in the starting lineup.”
Editing by Ed Osmond