SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Wild celebrations broke loose Sarajevo's central square Tuesday after Bosnia qualified for its first World Cup as an independent nation.
Almost 10,000 delirious fans jumped, cried and screamed 'Vamos Bosnia' — or 'Go Bosnia' — when striker Vedad Ibisevic scored in the 68th minute to secure a 1-0 win over Lithuania at Kaunas.
Immediately after the match, the Bosnian players were seen on TV crying in each other's arms at Kaunas, prompting tears to roll down thousands of cheeks at streets and homes in Bosnia. Thousands of fans, meanwhile, headed to the airport to wait for their "Dragons".
"They have no idea what they have done to the people here," wept unemployed Salih Redzic, 52. "We all need some 'Brazil'. It's not even about soccer any more. It's about this feeling many of us have almost forgotten and the younger ones have never experienced. The feeling of success," he said.
Bosnia has been close before. It narrowly missed out on the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship, both times losing to Portugal in the playoffs. But the current team, led by Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko and German-born playmaker Zvjezdan Misimovic, made no mistake on Tuesday night.
For at least a while, they made their countrymen forget their nation's more than 25 percent unemployment, the low standard of living, the 47 million euro of EU's funds lost last week over internal political bickering.
"We are going to Brazil," the crowd was chanting and TV screens were flashing. That's all that mattered: to use the word 'we' in combination with something synonymous to success.
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