The whole of Bosnia prayed for two days. They were praying for a miracle, for the good news coming from Rome, someone saying that all this is a bad dream and that Miralem Pjanić’s injury just looked horrible and nothing else, and that he’ll be ready to lead the Dragons against Greece on March 22nd. But, miracles in football are not common.
For the second time in these qualifiers, Pjanić will miss the encounter against the biggest and toughest rival in the group, Greece. That is a fact, just as the fact that this news is a huge blow for Safet Sušić and his ambitions in this match. Matches played so far, especially the one in Athens that Pjanić also missed, proved that Miralem is the key man in this Bosnian team. He became the player who is not afraid of taking the responsibility, one of the rare with a creative mind in that team, and it’s no wonder that Sušić did not sleep for two days. Neither were some of us.
However, this is not the end of the world. Nor such a tragedy as the Bosnian media presents it.
People in Bosnia are going that far to call for an alternative medicine and local sorceress and diviners to get him ready for Greece, which is idiotic. This is football and things like this happen. What more, the worst thing Bosnians could do now is to force Pjanic to return too early, because that could mean losing him for the future.
The Greece warfare is significant and very important, but it is only one amongst all the others. In World Cup qualifiers teams have to play ten matches, and points won in the other eight are not less important than the points won in the matches against Greece. What more, in some cases, the points that are still left to play for can be more important. After all, the best teacher is history – if Bosnia won three points in Tirana in the last qualifiers, they would play in Poland and Ukraine last summer.
Beating Greece would mean a lot in the Brazil race, but Bosnians are creating the wrong image. This match is important, but it is not the only important one. It is not ‘to be or not to be’, it will not decide the passenger to Mundial. The qualification to the major tournament is not depending on one match, one player, one ball… It depends on consistence through the whole competition, on keeping the same form against all the opponents, the best and the worst ones.
Bosnians tend to overreact and this is one those cases. Miralem Pjanić will be missed – he is indeed their best player at the moment – and it will be hard for the Dragons to cope with the Greeks without him. But, the most important thing for them is to stay with their feet firmly on the ground, whatever happens. The qualifiers reached their first half, five more matches are there to play after Greece, including visits to Bratislava, Riga and Vilnus, places where you have to fight for every point. After all, they avoided losing in Athens in the same situation, with Pjanic being side-lined due to injury.
At this present time, the Bosnians are the ones with the problems, but at some point the same will happen to the Greeks, Slovaks and everyone else. There’ll be rises and falls, unexpected results and surprises, small details that can prevail.
What Bosnians can’t afford is to blow things out proportions – negative like in this case or positive in the case of beating Greece and creating euphoria. They have to avoid walking on the clouds and focus on the sacred goal, and that is Brazil.
Pjanić will be missed against Greece, but that changes nothing – at the end he will be the one that steers this team on its road to Brazil. A road that takes much more than just 90 minutes to complete and, hopefully, overcome.
Written by Sasa Ibrulj
Follow Sasa on Twitter @sasaibrulj
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