Stoke stopper, Manchester City hitman and Tottenham target set to star for World Cup-bound Bosnia.
On a dramatic night of World Cup qualifiers, Bosnia and Herzegovina finally qualified for their first ever major tournament, clinching their place in Brazil next summer with a 1-0 with in Lithuania.
Vedad Ibisevic's second half goal secured top spot in Group G for Safet Susic's side, saving them the potential trauma of a playoff place. Bosnia have, after all, lost to Portugal in successive playoffs, as they missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Whilst they won't be expected to challenge for the later stages of the tournament, Bosnia will be a tricky customer and have a number of familiar faces that will pose problems for teams that have to face them.
Asmir Begovic, Goalkeeper, Stoke City
Arguably the best shot stopper in the Premier League, Begovic's reputation has grown rapidly since his 2010 switch from Portsmouth. Having claimed the 2012 Bosnian Footballer of the Year, Begovic will be important as Bosnia look to keep things tight at the back and maintain a strong position in games. Additionally, a strong showing could secure Begovic a move away from the Britannia Stadium, with a number of bigger clubs eyeing the 26 year old.
Emir Spahic, Defender, Bayer Leverkusen
The Bosnian captain, Spahic made his name with the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow and Montpellier before his move to La Liga with Sevilla. At 33 years old, this will surely be Spahic's only chance to play in a World Cup, and he couldn't hide his delight as he stayed after the game to celebrate with the fans. His experience will be vital at the back, and he will be relied on heavily throughout.
Miralem Pjanic, Midfielder, AS Roma
A target of Andre Villas-Boas and Spurs over the summer, Pjanic will be the creative force for Susic's side along with Zvjezdan Mismovic. A former Luxembourg youth international, Pjanic has made a reputation as a technically gifted player for both Lyon in France and Roma. With two strikers heavily relied on for goals, Pjanic will be expected to provide the service to score goals.
Edin Dzeko, Striker, Manchester City
The biggest name in the Bosnia team, the City striker is the all time leading goalscorer for the Bosnian national team with 33 goals in just 58 caps. Only Manchester United's Robin van Persie hit more goals than Dzeko in qualifying, and the 27 year old will be the talismanic figure for Susic at the World Cup. His goalscoring ability will be vital to any hopes of reaching the knockout phase.
Vedad Ibisevic, Striker, VfB Stuttgart
Amazingly, Bosnia not only had the second top scorer in qualifying, but also the third – Ibisevic. The man who clinched their place next summer with the goal against Lithuania scored nine goals, and is a dangerous prospect given defences will likely focus on Dzeko. The 29-year-old has been prolific for many years in Germany, and that goalscoring prowess will be a key facet of the team.
image: © ronnie macdonald