Bosnia and Herzegovina played a must-win World Cup qualifier for Russia 2018 away against Gibraltar on Sunday evening.
Prior to the match, the Bosnian media rightly pointed out that failure to beat the part-timers would be the biggest embarrassment in the country’s soccer history.
Despite the eventual 4-0 Bosnian victory, the above-mentioned embarrassment was at least a distinct possibility for most of the game.
AS Roma star striker Edin Džeko took until the 35th minute to open the scoring. There were several more chances for the Bosnian Dragons in the ten minutes that remained in the first half, but Gibraltar goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim had a fantastic day in the net, particularly in the initial forty-five minutes.
Gibraltar also had one or two scoring chances from counterattacks. But it was Kenan Kodro who made it 2-0 in the 65th minute. Sanad Lulić and Edin Džeko added the third and fourth goals respectively after the eighty-minute mark.
Overall, it was a game in which it was important for Bosnia and Herzegovina to take the three points, but it was also a match few will remember for a long time into the future.
Elsewhere in the group, Estonia defeated Cyprus 1-0, which all but ends the latter’s qualification dreams. Belgium also beat Greece 2-1. This means two things: First, Belgium is assured of a direct place in the World Cup and second, Bosnia moves into second place in the group ahead of Greece.
But given the fact that the Dragons still face Belgium and Greece still takes on Gibraltar, that is still likely to reverse again.
Even if it does not reverse and Bosnia and Herzegovina still takes second place in the group, there is still the possibility that they may become the worst second-placed team in Europe, in which case they would also miss out on the playoff round of qualifying.