Thursday 27 October 2016

Edin Dzeko highlights the threat posed by Republic of Ireland ahead of play-off

Published 12/11/2015 | 17:56

Edin Dzeko on the Republic of Ireland:
Edin Dzeko on the Republic of Ireland: "They have some important players, some experienced players, who can bring something different to the team - like they did against Germany."

Edin Dzeko has warned Bosnia & Herzegovina to beware the Republic of Ireland after their shock victory over world champions Germany.

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Ireland face Dzeko's men in Zenica on Friday evening in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off with a trip to France next summer awaiting the victors.

They will do so without vastly-experienced keeper Shay Given and Shane Long, the match-winner against the Germans through injury and central defender John O'Shea and striker Jonathan Walters through suspension.

However, Manchester City striker Dzeko, who is currently on loan at Roma, insists they will still be a threat to his country's hopes of making the European Championship finals for the first time.

He said: "Maybe some of their most important players are not playing in the first game, so it's a big problem for them, but they have other good players who can jump in, so I don't think it's a big advantage for us.

"They have some important players, some experienced players, who can bring something different to the team - like they did against Germany, because it's not easy doing it against them.

"If you win, you must be a good team."

Bosnia skipper Dzeko is well placed to assess the dangers in the Ireland squad having come up against most of Martin O'Neill's players during his time in the Barclays Premier League.

O'Neill was delighted to have been drawn to play away in the first leg, although his selection problems have eaten into that perceived advantage, although Dzeko believes not significantly.

Asked if the Bosnians are favourites to progress, he said: "No, I think it's 50-50.

"It doesn't matter that some of our players are playing in the Champions League because Ireland have players with a lot of experience who have already played in big games.

"I know almost all the Irish players - they all play in England in the best league in the world and they are there because they have their individual qualities, they are good players.

"Even if some of them are missing, they are a good team which will definitely never give up, I know that.

"They will be two very interesting games because we want to go to the Euros, they want to be there as well, so it will be interesting to watch.

"[It would be] the first time to go to the Euros. We achieved to go to the World Cup in Brazil and that was our first big competition, and now we want to go to the Euros as well."

The game will be played at the 11,800-capacity Bilino Polje Stadium, where a hostile reception for the visitors is assured.

Dzeko said: "This place is something special for us, something that gives us even more power to give everything we can.

"We love this place - we have won so many games here and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow."

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