The two sides were always going to fight for the second place in Group F, but Nigeria do not seem to be in enviable position following a dour goalless draw with Iran. Meanwhile, Bosnia are buoyed by the promising performance against Argentina and they will fancy their chances of winning at Arena Pantanal.
Nigeria continue to disappoint
Despite long ago becoming famous as traditional underperformers at tournament finals, some believe the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph would act as a major boost for the Super Eagles. But, several disappointing showings in the build up to the 2014 World Cup went on to suggest Nigeria won’t be able to make the desired impact in Brazil, and the opening goalless draw against Iran did little to dispel the doubts. Stephen Keshi’s side lacked imagination throughout and largely struggled to break the opposition that didn’t even seem interested in testing Victor Enyeama. But, while Nigeria did not concede in that match, chances are they won’t be able to keep a clean sheet against Bosnia, a team that not only boast some high-quality attackers in their ranks, but also the ones that tend to attack whenever they get a chance. Apart from maybe Ivory Coast, the African sides have again proven they are nothing more than a group of quality individuals and we all know that the lack of cohesion in the squad often proves very costly at these kinds of tournaments. Considering that key players do not seem to be pulling their weight, Nigeria cannot be expected to get anything from this match.
Central defender Godfrey Oboabona could start after recovering from injury earlier than expected, while Peter Odemwingie is set to be recalled despite being criticized by boss Stephen Keshi.
Bosnia impress on debut
With the likes of Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic, Senad Lulic and Emir Spahic in the ranks, Bosnia-Herzegovina were always tipped for a successful tournament at their maiden World Cup appearance, with friendly wins over Ivory Coast and Mexico suggesting the Dragons were fully prepared for what awaited them in Brazil. It was by no means easy to face hungry Argentina in their first ever World Cup game, but Bosnia gave a very good account of themselves, causing Los Albicelestes all sorts of problems despite conceding an unlucky goal early on and suffering a narrow defeat in the end. With Argentina likely to win their remaining fixtures with a big margin, that can definitely be considered a very good result, especially after the other two sides in the group played out a goalless draw. Bosnia now have a match point against out-of-sorts Nigeria, and judging by what the two sides have been showing of late, the Dragons have got to be considered hot favourites to claim maximum points. The goal scored by Vedad Ibisevic proved that Safet Susic has got some quality players on the bench as well, which could prove decisive in these kinds of matches.
Full-back Sejad Salihovic continues to miss out, while Edin Visca could come in for Izet Hajrovic in what should be the only change to the starting line-up.
Lacking organization in midfield and defence and failing to carve out any clear-cut opportunities against weak Iran, Nigeria have little to hope for against very good Bosnia side. The Dragons proved their worth by matching mighty Argentina for large periods of the game and I fully expect them to record their first ever World Cup triumph.
Top pick: Away win 1.92 (23/25) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Bosnia to win to nil 3.30 (23/10) @ Coral
Alternative pick 2: Bosnia/Bosnia 3.00 (2/1) @ bet365