Bosnia have everything it takes to eliminate Ireland in their Euro 2016 two-legged playoff and qualify for the finals in France, according to defender Ognjen Vranjes.
“We were unlucky? I don’t think so, it was the Republic of Ireland who were unlucky in the draw,” the 25-year old centre back was quoted as saying by Bosnia’s www.sportsport.ba website on Sunday.
“The Irish came the worst off among the unseeded teams because they are up against the most difficult opposition they could have asked for.
“We showed in our last two group stage qualifiers that we are capable of beating anyone and I don’t see why we can’t beat Ireland.”
The Bosnians will be at home in the first leg to be played between Nov. 12 and 14 with the return match in Ireland between Nov. 15 and 17.
Bosnia reached the playoffs as the third-placed from Group B with a 2-0 home win over Wales, who qualified automatically along with table-topping Belgium, and a 3-2 win in Cyprus.
It is the third time they are trying to reach a major tournament through the playoffs, having been knocked out by Portugal in the final qualifying stages of the 2010 World Cup and then Euro 2012.
They made a group stage exit in the 2014 World Cup, the first major tournament they reached as an independent nation.
Bosnia beat Wales and Cyprus without injured top scorer Edin Dzeko and Vranjes was confident they could reproduce those performances against Ireland, a team he saw as having a style similar to the Welsh.
“I am not trying to underestimate Ireland but I think Wales have better players than them,” he said.
“Any win in the first leg in Zenica would put us in the driving seat and if Ireland have to come at us in the return leg, we will have plenty of room to hit them on the break.”
His team mate Mensur Mujdza was slightly more cautious after seeing Ireland beat Germany 1-0 before a 2-1 defeat by Poland confined them to the playoffs.
“The result against Germany speaks for Ireland’s quality and it certainly won’t be easy for us,” said Mujdza.
“But I am optimistic and confident that we will go through.”
The draw for the playoff round of the Euro 2016 qualifying competition is as follows:
Ukraine v Slovenia
Sweden v Denmark
Bosnia v Ireland
Norway v Hungary
First named team plays the first leg at home.
First legs to be played November 12-14; second legs to be played November 15-17