On Friday night in the Bosnian city of Seneca, a new interpretation was given to the phrase “the meeting took place behind closed doors”. After the infamous boring first half of the first quarter of the 2016 European Championship play-off between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ireland, the football god showed mercy, and in the second 45 minutes a heavy fog spread over the grounds of Bilino Polje Stadium. The break was 0-0, with their former coach and defensive mentor Giovanni Trapatoni running unimaginably against the deeply defending Bosnians against the Irish who played like they had devised tactics. However, Martin O’Neill has been the head coach of the Republic of Ireland’s football team for two years.
The Northern Irish Trapatoni Memory Wall strategy responds to the defeat of two of his best strikers, Shane Long, John Walters and top defender John O’Shea. With the win, the Irish struggled for a great starting position in a 1-1 draw just before the second quarter in Dublin. A 0: 0 will be enough for the Irish on Monday evening to take part in the second consecutive European Championship.
“The most beautiful goal anyone has ever seen”. And the worst
Due to the fog shortly after the final whistle, no one could explain exactly how Friday’s result – either the TV viewers of this bizarre game or the 13,000 fans or two coaches at the stadium. Bosnian player Mohamed Basdarevic and O’Neill later admitted that they did not notice much play from the sidelines in the second half. For example, O’Neill said with a smile that he did not know exactly how Robbie Brady’s lead (82nd) happened, but Brady was probably in the best position. “The only thing I can say is,” O’Neill said, “it was a fog ball.” Of course, this also applies to the former Wolfsburg Edin Dieco draw three minutes later. At least in the third iteration, Brady succeeds in one of the Irish’s few counterattacks with a good left-footed shot in the short corner, and Disco hits the ball through the field’s camera view. Five meters above the line after the low cross of the Ogogen Vranches. A joke is now circulating in Ireland about the two bullets: Seneca’s Irish goal is considered “one of the most beautiful ever seen”. The Bosnian hit is now considered the “worst thing anyone has ever seen” on the Emerald Islands.
Not only TV viewers in Irish pubs and other bars around the world wondered why German referee Felix Breich did not give up the game. From the 46th minute until the final whistle, the white ball remained invisible outside the field like players. Martin O’Neill said he expected the game not to be interrupted after the first half, which he thought was a success: “It was only later that I realized I didn’t have to repeat the whole game, but from the moment. The cancellation would then begin again. But that did not happen, because Britch seems to be watching. In any case, the 1-1 draw makes it difficult for Bosnia to reach the European Championship for the first time since their first participation in the 2014 World Cup. Still, coach Mohamed Basdarevich knows: “Everything is not lost.” With the return of defensive midfielder Mohamed Besich, who was suspended on Friday, Basdarevich hopes to have more security at his disposal in Dublin.
In Seneca’s fog game, the Irish defense blocked the Bosnian attacking pair of Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic for a long time, but the Irish will only have problems on Monday in trapezoidal wall football. Coach Realist O’Neill warns: “Bosnia are always good for a goal!” That’s right: even if you didn’t see much of it on Friday – not just because of the fog.
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