Tim Hook writes why Edin Dzeko's Bosnia should be the team all neutrals or those disengaged with the England team should get behind.
For a variety of reasons, some football fans tend to pick a second or even a third team to support at international competitions. If in the case of your country not qualifying for a tournament, you may even end up deciding on an order of 3 different teams that you would like to succeed.
It is not uncommon for fans to temporarily switch allegiance In the event that their country is dumped out of a tournament. International competition rarely (with exceptions) has the same intense rivalry of club football, which means that one could be forgiven for adding their support to another side if their 1st choice is no longer competing.
A popular 2nd team over the past 2 decades was the Czech Republic team which featured Pavel Nedved, Milan Baros, Jan Koller and a young Tomas Rosicky. They made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2004 and were an exciting side to watch.
Going back further, some of the Brazil sides of the 1970's & 1980's gained many non-Brazilian fans for their attacking flair and style. But who are today's favourites?
At this year's World Cup in Brazil there will be a whole host of world-class players on display. But there will also be a string of players who have a point to prove. It is an opportunity for footballers to step up their game and show the world what they can do, and if the underdogs perform, they will garner much respect and admiration from the neutrals.
Being the only debutants at this year's World Cup, Bosnia and Herzegovina are likely to have a strong following of fans.
The country has only been competing as an independent nation for 20 years after a bloody civil war resulted in the break up of Yugoslavia.
With Manchester City's Edin Dzeko being the star player for the underdogs there may well be some added support from City fans too. For a country which two decades ago could only dream of an opportunity like this, the reality which many England fans take for granted or decide to shun is a historic moment. If we can't get behind our own team, we should unite in wishing the newcomers every success.
Bosnia and Herzegovina will be the 77th country to have ever competed at a world cup, meaning there are in excess of 100 nations to have never taken part in the pinnacle tournament of international football.
The side are in a group with Argentina, Nigeria and Iran, meaning Edin Dzeko will likely go head to head with City teammate Sergio Aguero. More added spice to a tournament to look forward to for the in-form striker.
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