Bosnia and Herzegovina manager Safet Susic has underlined Edin Dzeko’s importance to his side ahead of their crucial second group game against Nigeria tonight, comparing the striker’s influence to that of some of the stars of the World Cup.
Bosnia’s all-time leader-scoring with 35 goals, Dzeko netted 10 times in 10 qualifying matches to help guide the country to its first-ever major international tournament and his team will be hoping he can find that form this evening, as they look to bounce back from their 2-1 opening defeat to Argentina.
‘Dzeko is equally important to us as Ronaldo is for Portugal, as Neymar is to Brazil and as Messi is to Argentina,’ Susic said.
The team has recently adopted a more conservative 4-2-3-1 formation in the run up to Brazil, despite the pairing of Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic up top proving so successful throughout qualifying, but Susic insists that his star man will not be isolated as the lone frontman and that their lineup remains as attack-minded as ever.
‘Even when we play with one typical attacker, we never play with just one,’ he said. ‘We have in midfield players who want to go forward, wingers who always participate in attacks. In any situation we have five or six up front.’
Helping Manchester City to two Premier League titles since joining from German side Wolfsburg in January 2011, Dzeko may not have always been first-choice with his club but he has consistently proven himself a reliable finisher whenever in the lineup, with 15 or more total goals in each of his three full seasons in England.
While his manager’s words may seem a tad outlandish, there is no doubt that the 28-year-old remains pivotal to his team’s chances of picking up victories in their remaining games against Group F opponents Nigeria and Iran, but Bosnia are by no means a one-man team either.
With fellow established players such as Roma’s Miralem Pjanic, Lazio’s Senad Lulic and the previously mentioned Ibisevic, Dzeko’s side could well spring a surprise this summer should they make it to the last-16, but a win over the African outfit tonight is what is required first.