Bosnia-Herzegovina (0-1-0) vs. Nigeria (0-0-1), 6 p.m. (ET)
06/21/2014 8:17 AM
06/21/2014 8:17 AM
Cuiaba, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria will both be searching for three big points on Saturday at the Arena Pantanal as both try to position themselves for a run at the next round.
Bosnia fell 2-1 to Argentina in its first-ever World Cup match, while Nigeria was left frustrated by a 0-0 draw against Iran.
The match really couldn't have started worse for Bosnia as the team went behind in the opening three minutes to an own goal from Sead Kolasinac.
However, things settled down after that goal, and Bosnia was able to disrupt Argentina's attack until Lionel Messi scored a wonderful goal in the 65th minute to double the advantage.
The Bosnian's were able to cut the deficit in half in the last 10 minutes through a goal from Vedad Ibisevic, but an equalizer wasn't in the cards.
Despite the loss, Bosnia boss Safet Susic was proud of his side, and will head into the Nigeria contest in a confident mood.
"We wanted to give the favorites a fight and I'm satisfied with what we did," Susic said following the defeat to Argentina.
The Super Eagles enter this match with a point, unlike Bosnia, but they will be the more disappointed of the two sides ahead of the contest after failing to take maximum points from Iran.
Nigeria was left frustrated by Iran's approach, which was very defensive and centered on getting players behind the ball.
For Nigeria, the match represented a good opportunity to take three points ahead of games against two more difficult opponents, and midfielder John Obi Mikel reflected that in his comments after the match.
"We are very disappointed because the opening match is very important," said Mikel. "We looked for the win, but Iran knew what we wanted to do and put 11 men behind the ball. They managed to stop us from playing our game. We'll have to create more chances in our next match and be sharp in front of goal."
The pressure is now on Nigeria to take maximum points because the African side faces Argentina in its final group-stage contest, while Bosnia has the much more manageable task of meeting Iran.
One of the big questions facing Bosnia before the World Cup was how well the team would play defensively, but those questions were answered to an extent by the performance against Argentina.
With Bosnia having Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Ibisevic in attack, Nigeria's defense will get a much sterner examination than it got from Iran.
The schedule will only get tougher for the African champions, so three points is of vital importance.