FIFA World Cup Preview: Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina
By Football News
After a positive showing against Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina will be confident of securing a first FIFA World Cup victory against Nigeria.
Safet Susic's side will have been encouraged despite their opening defeat to the Group F favourites where they were undone by a Sead Kolasinac own goal and a moment of magic from Lionel Messi.
The fixture at the Maracana was the country's first at a World Cup and, while it ended in defeat, a win over Nigeria could put them right back in the mix for progression.
If Iran are beaten by the group leaders on Friday, Bosnia can leapfrog them into second with a win later in the day.
Having caused Argentina problems in spells on Sunday, Susic will be confident his men can overcome a Nigeria side that looked out of sorts in their opener - a goalless draw against Iran.
Despite seeing shades of promise in the loss to Argentina, Susic is targeting a better performance in Cuiaba.
"We haven't shown everything we are capable of yet," he said.
"I hope that Argentina will win their other two games, because if they do then the second spot will be between Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia.
"I am convinced that we still have everything to play for."
If Bosnia's performance bolstered fans' hopes, Nigeria's is likely to have done anything but.
Keshi saw his side struggle to break Iran down with the stalemate made worse with an injury to defender Godfrey Oboabona.
The African champions were frustrated for large spells as they dominated possession without reward in what was arguably their most winnable fixture of the group.
Amid the disappointment of their showing, Oboabona has offered Keshi hope of recovering from his ankle problem.
The Caykur Rizespor man could return to partner Kenneth Omeruo in the heart of the Nigerian defence, with the Chelsea youngster eager to pit his wits against Bosnia's star striker Edin Dzeko.
"It will be a delight to see how Edin Dzeko and I slug it out in the game," he said.
"Hopefully, they will play an open game and we will also, which will make the game very interesting."
Bosnia have also been boosted with the news that captain Emir Spahic is in line for a swift return from his knee injury.
Assistant manager Borce Sredojevic said he was "optimistic" about the defender's chances of playing.