Newcomer Bosnia has no plans to man-mark Messi

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014
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Bosnia-Herzegovina reached its first World Cup by playing a brazen full-speed-ahead style of football that netted 30 goals in qualifying.

Sticking to that strategy in a big-stage premiere against Argentina would be bold — some would say foolish. But there's a good chance that's exactly what is in coach Safet Susic's plans.

Susic has a reputation of stubbornly adhering to his attacking strategy regardless of the opponent. Even against an Argentina team led by four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, there's only so much he's willing to tweak in his game plan.

"It is a dilemma for me, but to sacrifice a player just to man-mark Messi, I don't think it would be good for us," Safic said. "I don't think we have ever played a match having dedicated a player to man-mark a specific opponent, and it's going to be the same," against Argentina.

His words suggest the Group F opener Sunday in Rio de Janeiro could be an entertaining affair, with both teams going on the attack.

Argentina is chasing its third World Cup title with perhaps the strongest lineup of strikers in the tournament. Messi, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gonzalo Higuain together scored more than 100 goals for their club teams last season.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is likely to let either Lavezzi or Higuain join up with Messi and Aguero in a three-man attack, with Angel Di Maria surging from midfield to add even more firepower.

The Bosnians, too, have a powerful strike force in Vedad Ibisevic and Edin Dzeko — Aguero's teammate at Manchester City.

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