Wednesday 29 March 2017

'I know almost all the Irish players' - Bosnian star Edin Dzeko wary of Irish threats

Edin Dzeko in action against Andorra during Bosnia's Euro 2016 qualifier. The Roma striker scored seven of their 17 goals during their campaign
Edin Dzeko in action against Andorra during Bosnia's Euro 2016 qualifier. The Roma striker scored seven of their 17 goals during their campaign

Aidan Fitzmaurice in Zenica

Bosnia star Edin Dzeko has dismissed suggestions that his side are favourites to get past an injury-hit Ireland side and into the European Championship finals.

While Martin O'Neill has to grapple with a number of injuries, on top of two suspensions, Bosnia have a clean bill of health with the welcome sight of Dzeko back to fitness and back to form with Roma, two goals in his last two games.

He's aware that Ireland are missing players like Shay Given and John O'Shea but he feels there's enough in the background to cause his side problems.

"Even though some players are missing they are still a good team, they never give up and it will be two good game, you [Ireland] want to go to the Euros and so do we," said ex-Manchester City man Dzeko.

"Some of the most important players are not playing so that's a problem for you guys, but you have other good players who can jump in, it's not a big advantage for us.

"Experienced players can bring something different to the team, like you did against Germany as it's not easy to win against them, if you win against them you must be a good team," added Dzeko.

"I know almost all of the Irish players, I know they have good players from the English Premier League, the best league in the world, they are not 'just there' but they all have qualities and are good players."

For Dzeko, it's key for his side to follow up a World Cup appearance in 2014 by making it to France.

"It would be our first time to go to the Euros, we achieved the World Cup in Brazil and that was our first big competition but we want to go to the Euros," he said.

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