Edin Dzeko Glory with Bosnia Leads Man City World Cup Involvement
A number of City players were involved in World Cup qualifying matches last night. Here's a round-up of their involvement.
Lithuania 0-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
For the first time in their history as an independent nation, Bosnia-Herzegovina, led by Edin Dzeko, have qualified for a major tournament. After narrowly missing out on the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2012 after play-off defeats to Portugal, they finally secured their place at a showpiece event with a 1-0 win away to Lithuania, sparking jubilant scenes in Sarajevo’s central square.
Dzeko, who has scored 10 goals in qualifying, set up Vedad Ibisevic for the 68th minute winner which saw his side finish above Greece on goal difference.
Some 10,000 Bosnian fans journeyed to Kaunas to witness history being made, and the team had a special flight back to Sarajevo booked for straight after the game so that they could join in the celebrations back home.
France 3-0 Finland
Samir Nasri’s much-improved Manchester City form has seen him force his way back into Didier Deschamp’s France side. He started last night’s final qualifier, a 3-0 win over Finland at the Stade de France.
It wasn’t enough to secure qualification, though, as Spain ran out 2-0 winners against Georgia to top Group I which sent France into the two-legged playoff.
Nasri has been a player reborn under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini this season after a difficult season under Roberto Mancini in 2012/13. He's become a regular for City during David Silva’s absence through injury, and he looks set to play a much more important role at the Etihad this season.
Undoubtedly, he will surely be a key part of France’s playoff matches.
Nasri was replaced after 71 minutes, and Gael Clichy was an unused substitute.
Spain 2-0 Georgia
Alvaro Negredo scored for Spain in their 2-0 win over Georgia as the holders booked their place at this summer's tournament. The striker has been in fine form for club and country all season, and this was his 10th international goal in 19 appearances. Jesus Navas also started, with both players completing the full 90 minutes, while David Silva was an unused sub.
Serbia 5-1 Macedonia
Serbia’s match against Macedonia was meaningless given neither side could qualify, but it was an entertaining affair. Both Matija Nastasic and Aleksandar Kolarov played the full 90 minutes in their side’s 5-1 win in Jagodina, with Kolarov scoring one and assisting another.
This was at least some revenge for Macedonia’s win over Serbia last year that ultimately damaged their bid for a playoff spot.
Montenegro 2-5 Moldova
After England had ended Montenegro’s chances of qualifying for Brazil 2014, they struggled to perform in their final Group H match, losing 5-2 at home to Moldova.
City’s Stevan Jovetic scored both Montenegro goals: a 55th minute penalty and a strike in stoppage time. Jovetic, who has had a stop-start beginning to his City career after some niggling injuries, will be hoping he can use his two international goals as a catalyst for some form at club level.
England 2-0 Poland
England secured their place in Brazil with a win over Poland. Joe Hart kept a clean sheet and James Milner came off the bench to assist Steven Gerrard's 88th minute strike.
Hart has struggled for form and confidence this season but a clean sheet in such a huge match at Wembley should provide him with a tim ely boost.
Sergio Aguero was given permission to leave Argentina's squad early after their win over Peru on Friday and Pablo Zabaleta was an unused sub in last night's 3-2 defeat away at Uruguay. Both players will be fresh and ready for action come Saturday evening when City take on West Ham at Upton Park.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity
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