Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Tactical Preview of World Cup Group F Match

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 21, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Vedad Ibisevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The first round of group-stage matches is in the books at the FIFA World Cup 2014, and now we turn our attention to the second lot.

Nigeria and Bosnia and Herzegovina will both be looking to bounce back from opening-fixture disappointments, as it remains a toss-up between the two to finish second in Group F.



Nigeria were incredibly poor in their opener, belying the form they showed during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and failing to open up Iran.

All the good progress Stephen Keshi has made seemed to grind to a halt during that game, as he played a 4-3-3 formation lacking penetration and turned to long-ball, Shola Ameobi-inspired tactics far too soon.


The Super Eagles need creativity in the hole, some urgency in midfield and improved play from their full-backs. 

You have to say, based on early evidence, Keshi's side won't be in a position to trouble BIH's suspect defence, despite the favourable matchup.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Safet Susic will have sat his players down at half-time and wondered how to address them; after all, they were 1-0 down but playing the better football against a much-fancied Argentina side.


They sacrificed Vedad Ibisevic from the starting XI to make room for an extra midfielder, but in return, Edin Dzeko played poorly and failed to provide the killer instinct in front of goal the Dragons needed.

After Ibisevic's goal as a substitute, it's likely he's won his place back, and that means one of Muhamed Besic, Zvjezdan Misimovic or Izet Hajrovic drops out to accommodate him.


2 Tactical Clashes

1. Working the Channels

If Bosnia and Herzegovina have a weakness, it's defence, and they won't settle as quickly into a flat back four when defending against Nigeria as they did against Argentina.

Sead Kolasinac will likely bomb forward, and Mensur Mujdza will be encouraged to reciprocate from the other flank. In fact, if BIH go winger-less to squeeze in two strikers, they'll be required to come up and hold the width in attack.

That's a dream scenario for Nigeria, who have Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa to work the channels. There was no room against Iran, but here there's space to run.

CHESTER, PA - JUNE 3:  Victor Moses #11 of Nigeria kicks the ball away from Ioannis Fetfatzidis #18 of Greece during an international friendly match at PPL Park on June 3, 2014 in Chester, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images


2. Matched Up

Dzeko and Ibisevic is a central defensive duo's nightmare, with the two combining nous, intelligence, power and immense heading ability in the box to score a bucketload of goals.

Kenneth Omeruo is an up-and-coming defender, while Joseph Yobo is firmly at the other end of the scale. There's a reasonable chance one is too young and the other too old to deal with this dynamic duo.

The Super Eagles weren't tested defensively by Iran, but Miralem Pjanic's through balls are sure to give them a headache.


Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.