Bosnia and Herzegovina are preparing for their first World Cup as an independent nation by taking on Egypt in a friendly in Austria. The BiH Dragons qualified for Brazil by finishing first in their group, beating out Greece by virtue of scoring something like a hundred goals more than the second placed squad.
Their reward? A World Cup group featuring Argentina, Iran and Nigeria. It's not the most difficult group, but it's still one that will challenge the newcomers, and so they must take this friendly seriously. It's a chance for Safet Sušić to evaluate his players, choosing the ones most suited for the trip to Brazil.
With that in mind, Sušić has made few changes to his Bosnia side, introducing his nephew, Tino-Sven Sušić, as well as Anel Hadžić, both defensive midfielders. The core remains the same, although the coach may have a few concerns. The side's best player, Miralem Pjanić, is struggling with injury, while Edin Džeko is proving himself rather inconsistent at Manchester City. A bright spot is midfielder Sejad Salihović, who had an excellent game with Hoffenheim last weekend and has eight goals in eighteen appearances for the German side.
Egypt, on the other hand, missed out on the World Cup, falling 7-3 to Ghana over two legs in the third round of African qualifiers. After failing to get the Pharaohs to Brazil, coach Bob Bradley resigned. Shawky Gharib, most recently head coach of Egyptian side Ismaily SC, makes his debut in Austria. The new coaching team has been focusing on the domestic league, watching carefully as they prepare for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Gharib has brought back veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, missing from the squad since last year, when he turned down a call up rather than sit on the bench during a friendly against Chile. The 40-year-old helped guide Egypt to three ACON titles. On the other end of the spectrum, striker Ahr Gamal gets his first call after garnering attention with Al-Ahly.
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic, Jasmin Fejzic, Asmir Avdukic
Defenders: Emir Spahic, Toni Sunjic, Sead Kolasinac, Ognjen Vranjes, Ervin Zukanovic, Ermin Bicakcic, Mensur Mujdza, Avdija Vrsajevic
Midfielders: Sejad Salihovic, Miralem Pjanic, Izet Hajrovic, Haris Medunjanin, Senad Lulic, Anel Hadzic, Tino-Sven Susic, Zoran Kvrzic
Strikers: Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic, Edin Visca
Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary, Sherif Ekramy, Ahmed El-Shenawy
Defenders: Ali Ghazal, Rami Rabiea, Shawky El-Said, Ahmed Said 'Oka', Tarek Hamed, Ahmed Fathi, Ahmed El-Mohamady, Mohamed Farouk, Ahmed Hamody, Ibrahim Hassan
Midfielders: Mohamed El-Neny, Hossam Ghaly, Saleh Gomaa, Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek
Strikers: Mohamed Nagy 'Gedo', Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Ragab, Amr Gamal, Khaled Kamar
Match Date / Time: Wednesday, March 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Tivoli-Neu Stadium, Innsbruk, Austria
Online: LiveSport.tv, bet365