Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Meet the Team: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Nickname: They have two nicknames, "Zmajevi" or Dragons, is a solid "FEAR OUR POWER" nickname, but the more notable one "Zlatni Ljiljani" means the far less intimidating "Golden Lilies"
"For My Homeboys"
--rough translation from the Bosnian

Star: Edin Džeko strikes for Man City (though mostly off the bench) and drives the whole offense. He isn't as widely known as the other prolific goal scorers coming into the tournament, but as someone rumored to be worth 20 Million Euro, he's got every opportunity to get a wider appeal for himself.

Hip-Star: Don't get sucked in by that corporate "goal scoring wins games" malarkey. And don't let just the mainstream keeper fixation rule your sense of defense of prowess--root instead for up-and-coming defender Ognjen Vranješ. The youngest and most lock-down defender Bosnia has to offer. He may look like a bro, but we'll claim him for the cause of hipsters everywhere.

X-Factor: Getting set for the World Cup is all about preparing yourself for the level of competition you'll face. Bosnia sends about six players into the world class leagues of Europe and Champions level competition (including Džeko, his fellow striker Ibišević, Midfielders Pjanić and Lulić, Defender Spahić and keeper Begović). Everyone else will get their most consistent taste of regular play against world class players in Brazil--if they rise to the challenge they can surprise, if they don't...well...

File:Safet Susic.jpg
He can be a part-time-model

Coach: Continuing a long line of excellent Balkan coaches, Safet Sušić has led the Dragon/Lilies with aplomb in his 5 years in charge. Building off a stellar--if less reknowned career--where he was voted the greatest player in Paris Saint-Germain history and lauded by UEFA, FIFA and fellow studs like Gerd Muller. He's basically the Hip-Star version of player turned coach if you want to show off against people touting Klinsmann, Wilmots and Deschamps.

History: Bosnia/Herzegovinia is the only debutante in this year's field. After years of playoff loses (largely to Portugal) they're in the field and the papers for something other than tragic deaths related to hooliganism or road accidents.

File:Cevapcici in somun.jpgFood: We're firm believers in the philosophy that, if it's fried meat, it's good sports food. So we're looking forward to trying Ćevapi combining delicious sausages with onions and pita bread instead of a bun. Well done Bosnia, well done.

Fool: Lost in all the "Russia's-Going-Retro-Bond-Villain" in Eastern European news this spring is a host of February riots in Bosnia protesting terrible services, lack of employment, growing poverty and political dismissal of the issues. The violence from February has died down but the demonstration continues, so unless you want withering derision from a blog with four readers you best get your sh*t together, Prime Minister Nermin Nikšić.

Best Case: Džeko leads the way out of the group stages and on to the quarter finals with a couple of superlative strikes to unseat a lackadaisical French team in the second round--ensuring peace at home and respect around the world.

Worst Case: Džeko struggles to break through world class defenses, his teammates play in awe of their surroundings, the only goal scored is an own goal and ethnic divisions within the team mirror increasing unrest at home.

My prediction: Edin Džeko will get a stunning first goal to scare Argentina in the first match (before a less experienced midfield gives way), and he'll lead a strong showing against Nigeria. But faced with the shut down defense of Carlos Quieroz's Iran, I think they'll quaver, showing their inexperience and sealing a trip home early, despite inspiring some confidence at home. 3rd Place in group--3 points

Added Bonus! Bosnia's Entry in the World Cup of Hip Hop: Buba Corelli "Oh No"

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