It’s that time again. The designers over at adidas have released the new Bosnia and Herzegovina home kit. The jersey is composed of a mainly dark navy color, with a slightly lighter blue sash running from from the upper right shoulder to the lower left corner. On the side are the traditional three stripes, in gold.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have ended their World Cup 2018 qualifying run with a 1-2 away victory in Tallinn, against Estonia. Izet Hajrovic scored twice to make sure the Dragons finish third in the group, behind Belgium and Greece. Even though they ended on a somewhat positive note, this campaign left much to be desired and you can’t help but think Bosnia shot themselves in the foot on numerous occasions, specifically the Cyprus away game, where they let a 0-2 lead slip away, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
But what happens now, more specifically, what happens to the ‘golden generation’ that brought us to our first major tournament?
Whatever happens in Zenica, stays in Zenica, right? Maybe not this time around as a post-match brawl erupted after the match on June 9, reportedly ignited by tensions between Roma teammates Edin Dzeko and Kostas Manolas. It quickly evolved into a sideline scuffle resulting in a lost tooth for Giannis Gianniotas, thanks to a whopping punch delivered by assistant coach Gilli Stephane (who, of course, actually appears to be an MMA fan).
Asmir Begovic’s reported £10m move from Chelsea to Bournemouth is officially in the books, and Bosnian fans should breathe a sigh of relief, because it means a return of the top form keeper that we were used to seeing during his time at Stoke City.
Championship side Bristol City FC have officially announced the signing of Bosnian international striker Milan Djuric for an undisclosed fee, but rumored to be under 2M pounds. The 6’6 striker signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club, claiming it to be a “dream move,” for him since he’s always wanted to play in England.
Djuric arrived from Serie B side Cesena, where he was a perennial loanee, with stints at several clubs across Italy. Strictly examining his numbers, Djuric plays as a classic centre-forward (much in the old English mold). In 274 total club matches, he’s scored 48 goals and assisted 16 times. In a total of 16,859 minutes, this translates to roughly a goal every 3.9 matches. Not exactly mind-blowing numbers until you take a look at his international level statistics, although he does have a claim to fame with his goal against Buffon.
For Bosnia’s under-21 squad, Milan is most famous for his headed hat-trick (heading the ball is something he’s quite good at) against Germany. In four matches, he scored six times. For the senior side, in 14 matches, he’s scored 7 times, most coming in from the bench. The 26 year old striker has a powerful build, and an uncanny resemblance to none-other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic himself.
His goal ratio in Italy is adequate, while his numbers for Bosnia are quite impressive. What is most impressive however, are not the raw statistics but Milan’s overall contribution to the team. As a striker, he has done a fantastic job of holding up the ball, contributing defensively, and acting as a focal point for set-piece specialists like Pjanic, from the corner or otherwise. Simply put, used correctly, and given a serious run of games, Djuric can convert chances into goals, not just from crosses, but from build up play and dead ball situations. In Italy, the constant loan spells and irregular playing time affected his overall performance. However, if Djuric is given a chance to lead the line, his dominating physical presence, heading ability, and work rate could be well suited for the English game.
On November 30, 1995, a rag tag group of players and coaches traveled to Tirana, Albania to play a football match. It was no ordinary game. Even though the match itself was meaningless, a friendly, it meant the world to a small country that only recently saw the end of a bloody war for independence.
For every negative football story there seem to be dozens of positive ones to counteract it. Even though the Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina World Cup 2018 qualifier in Athens brought some ugly scenes to the forefront, including the mistreatment of fans and fascist banners being unfurled, it did have one touching moment.