The impressive 5-0 victory over Latvia may not have clinched Bosnia a spot in the World Cup, but Bosnians sure celebrated as though it did, jumping up and down in bars and cafes and honking their horns furiously through the streets of Sarajevo. Depending on how Greece does against Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina may come away with a four point lead atop Group G.
The match was over by the 11th minute, when Aleksandrs Fertovs saw red for a high boot on Elvir Rahimic. From that point on, Latvia had no chance – not even a shot on goal. However, despite having a man advantage, it took Bosnia until the second half to settle down, spending most of the first sending crosses to invisible teammates and kicking the ball into touch.
But just three minutes after the restart, Bosnia claimed the lead. A fearsome attack saw Latvia goalkeeper Andris Vanins make two great saves in quick succession, but Bosnia kept pressing. Miralem Pjanic controlled a cross before sending it out to Mensur Mujdza, who put it through to Senad Lulic. The midfielder, who’d looked rather poor for the majority of the first half, deftly side-footed the ball into the back of the net.
The Lulic goal opened the floodgates. Vedad Ibisevic was next to score, nonchalantly flicking on a headed goal. The most gorgeous goal of the night, however, belonged to Haris Medunjanin. He pounced on a ball from Edin Dzeko and, from 25 yards out, sent a perfectly curving ball over the heads of the defense to nestle in the back of the net.
Three just wasn’t enough for Bosnia, however. The next goal came from Pjanic with ten minutes to go. The midfielder played an integral part in the entire match and capping it off with a goal seemed only appropriate. Substitute Edin Visca took the ball to the touchline, pulled back and sent it straight to Pjanic, who delivered a low, sharp shot straight past Vanins.
Then Dzeko just had to get in on the fun, with Pjanic again turning the provider by sending a long ball over the Latvia defense. Dzeko easily got behind the defenders and, with Vanins utterly defeated by this time, knocked in Bosnia’s fifth.