The Iran Project

Iran – Bosnia-Herzegovina game between mates – SALVADOR, Iran takes on Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday June 25 at Arena Fonte Nova in the last match of Group F. Despite the match being  a 2014 FIFA World Cup group match, to the people of these two great nations it’s merely a game between mates.

In 1992 when Bosnia-Herzegovina separated from Yugoslavia, Iran was amongst the first nations in the world to recognise the independence of the newly found republic located in the Balkans. The following year on 12 September, the national team of Bosnia-Herzegovina took on Iran at Azadi Stadium for Team Melli’s legendary Captain, Sirous Ghayeghran’s farewell match. The visitors had a great day and won 3-1. Team Melli’s only goal was scored by striker Hassan Shirmohammadi.

However the match is not counted as an official match by FIFA since Bosnia-Herzegovina only became a FIFA member in 1995.

For just over a decade, from 1997 to 2009, there were many great footballers from the two nations playing for clubs in the German Bundesliga. Hence many Iranians and Bosnians were team mates in Germany. Bosnian legend Hasan Salihamidžic has had the priviledge of being team mates of 4 Iranians,  at Bayern Munich Ali Daei (1998/99 season), Vahid Hashemian (2004/05 season) and Ali Karimi (2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons), at VfL Wolfsburg current Team Melli midfielder Ashkan Dejagah (2011/12 season).

Other Bosnian legend Sergej Barbarez has been team mate of 2 Iranians, at Hamburger SV, Vahid Hashemian (2000/01 season) and Mehdi Mahdavikia (2000-2006). While Zlatan Bajramovic  also has been team mate of 2 Iranians, at Eintracht Frankfurt Mehdi Mahdavikia (2008/09 season) and at FC St Pauli Alireza Mansourian (2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons). Also Ivica Grlić, at Fortuna Koln was team mate of Mehdi Pashazadeh during the 1999/00 season.

Current Team Melli Goalkeeper Daniel Davari and midfielder Ashkan Dejagah are also well acquainted with the Bosnians. Daniel Davari who stands between the posts for Eintracht Braunschweig since 2010 has Bosnian team mates Ermin Bičakčić (since 2011) and Damir Vrančić  (since 2010). Whilst Ashkan Dejagah at (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany) was team mates with Edin Džeko (2007-2011) and Zvjezdan Misimović (2008-2011) and earlier in his football career at Hertha Berlin he was team mate with Sejad Salihovic during 2004/05 season.

Some former Bosnian national football team players had or are currently playing their trade at Iran’s Professional League known as Persian Gulf Cup. These former Dragons players are Alen Avdić (Saba Battery Tehran 2006-2008, Bargh Shiraz 2008-2009), Asmir Avdukić (Persepolis Tehran 2012), Mladen Bartolović (Foolad Ahvaz 2009-2010), Samir Bekrić (MES Kerman/Fajr Sepasi 2013-), Faruk Ihtijarević (Pas Hamedan 2007-2008), Almir Tolja (Saba Battery Tehran 2005-2008, Saba Qom 2008-2009, Nassaji Mazandaran 2009-2010) and Enes Mešanović (Bargh Shiraz 2006).

Croatia’s legendary Head Coach who guided them to 3rd place of 1998 FIFA World Cup, Bosnian-born Miroslav “Ciro” Blaževic had the pleasure of coaching both Team Melli and Dragons, 2001 and 2008-2009 respectively.

As for the stats, Iran leads Bosnia-Herzegovina 4 wins and 1 draw, with the dragons yet to win in an official match. The world’s highest goal scorer with a total of 109 goals, legendary Team Melli former captain Ali Daei leads the highest scorers in Iran vs Bosnia-Herzegovina with a total of 3 goals. Next to him Arash Borhani currently with Esteghlal Tehran who scored in two seperate games against Bosnia-Herzegovina perhaps should be invited to play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup to have the opportunity to score against the dragons. Ali Daei and Edin Džeko both lead the stats with 2 goals, for most goals by a player in a match.

Despite Iran’s superior advantage in Head-To-Head versus Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran is more than happy to enjoy the current underdog status at 2014 FIFA World Cup. However it seems that Bosnia-Herzegovina coaching staff, players and fans are very optimistic and already see themselves as second placed team at Group F behind Argentina. However the reality is that we will have to wait until match day to see who will reign supreme at the match.

Previous encounters

1. 22 July 2001Friendly, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Iran 2-2(2-1) at BihacGoals: Saed Seferović(8′), Miroslav Dujmović(11′); Sirous Dinmohammadi(5′), Faraz Fatemi(90′).

2. 10 August 2001LG Cup, Iran vs Bosnia-Herzegovina 4-0(1-0) at Azadi Stadium, Tehran.Attendance: 75,000. Goals: Mehdi Hashemi-Nasab(5′), Ali Daei(71′), Ali Karimi(80′), Ali Daei(92′).

3. 2 February 2005Friendly, Iran vs Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1(1-1) at Azadi Stadium, Tehran.Attendance: 15,000. Goals: Ali Daei(41′), Arash Borhani(73′); Elvir Bolić(17′).

4. 31 May 2006,  Friendly, Iran vs Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-2(3-2) at Azadi Stadium, TehranAttendance:40,000. Goals: Mehrzad Madanchi(25′), Vahid Hashemian(45′), Rahman Rezaei(45′), Gholam Reza Enayati(88′), Rasoul Khatibi(90′); Zvjezdan Misimović(5′), Sergej Barbarez(17′).

5. 12 August 2009Friendly, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Iran 2-3(0-0) at SarajevoGoals: Edin Džeko (53′, 65′); Masoud Shojaei(79′), Arash Borhani(86′), Andranik Teymourian(’90)

By Persian Football


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