World Cup 2014: Argentina v Bosnia and Herzegovina match preview

A look ahead to this weekend's World Cup fixture at the Maracana

The World Cup’s first game at the newly built Maracana, where the final will take place in under a month’s time, sees Lionel Messi’s Argentina take on a revitalised Bosnia side.

Argentina go into the tournament as one of the main contenders for the crown, and it is not hard to see why, with the attacking options they have at their disposal. The only thing missing in Messi’s career is a polished World Cup campaign, with the Barcelona man failing to deliver his best in 2010. If he performs to the level we know he can then there could be no stopping this Argentina team, backed up by the likes of Aguero, Di Maria and Higuain who have all had fantastic seasons at their respective clubs. On South American soil they will be a major threat and they will be desperate to take maximum points from a relatively generous group, starting with their opener on Sunday.

Follow our World Cup live blog here

The Bosnians however sailed through qualification, and will relish an encounter such as this one, in their first World Cup appearance. Edin Dzeko will lead the line, and Bosnia will be relying on his goals if they are to progress from Group F, but they will also need big performances from their other talented players, such as Roma’s Miralem Pjanic and the youngster Besic who is definitely one to watch. Bosnia will play with freedom and confidence, with craft and guile in their midfield players likely to cause problems to a weak Argentinian defence. Safet Susic has produced a hard working team who could spring a few surprises in Brazil, but with an opening fixture against a formidable Argentina, they will have to produce a faultless performance if they are to stand any chance of getting a result from this game.

KICK-OFF: Sunday, 11pm

 

PAST TWO MEETINGS…

Argentina 2 Bosnia 0, International Friendly, November 2013

Argentina 5 Bosnia 0, International Friendly, May 1998

STATS…

In Bosnia’s last 18 matches, they have won 14, only losing four times and drawing once.

Argentina have only lost once in their last 15 games.

Bosnia have never scored against Argentina.

Argentina have the World Cup’s oldest squad, with an average age of 28.9

Argentina are the only team in the World Cup who do not have a single player in their squad below the age of 24.

ODDS…

Argentina to win: 1.44

Bosnia to win: 9.00

Draw: 4.60

TV: Live on BBC One at 11pm

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