By Shravanth Vijayakumar
SEAMUS Coleman has fired a warning at Everton team-mate Muhamed Besic, saying friendship will count for nothing when Ireland take on Bosnia in the first leg of their Euro 2016 playoff clash on Friday (9.45pm).
Ireland, who missed out on a chance to qualify directly for next year’s finals in France after finishing third in their group, travel to Zenica on Friday before hosting Bosnia in Dublin on Monday.
The Irish have lost two and won one of the three European Championship playoffs they have featured in. Bosnia lost their sole playoff appearance to Portugal in 2012 but head into the game on the back of a three-match winning streak.
The sides last met in a 2012 friendly in Dublin, with Ireland’s Shane Long, who is likely to miss both games due to injury, scoring the only goal.
Coleman, 27, who has never played in a major international tournament before, said making it to Euro 2016 was never far from his thoughts this season.
“We’re showing a bit of respect – it’s too important even for banter. We’re not really having banter about it. We’ve talked about it,” the defender told the club’s website (www.evertonfc.com).
“Mo is a great lad and I’ve great time for him but hopefully he’s a loser on the weekend,” he added.
“It (qualification) is always at the back of your mind. We’ve been talking about it.
“It’s that big that you can’t really forget about it. Obviously you put your club first for the time being because you’ve got to play games but it’s always there.
“When you come home in the evening you’re thinking of France. It’s only natural.
“I’d be gutted if I retired without playing in a major tournament. I don’t want to finish without playing for Ireland at a big tournament.”