In a surprising turn of events, Bosnia and Herzegovina manager Safet Susic announced he will be stepping down from his role following the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup group stages for the team from the Balkans.
Susic was responsible for leading the team to their very first World Cup appearance, but that didn't stop him from making this decision. He told Brazilian paper Lancenet he felt like the team came up short, via FIFA.com:
This was my last game at the World Cup. Unfortunately there will not be another one. Sometimes it is a nice feeling to be free of obligations. I can decide my own fate and this is my answer.
The win against Iran is scant consolation. But I congratulate my players for a display of commitment and passion against a team needing a win to keep alive their hopes of progressing.
I feel sorry for those we have disappointed. We should have done better by the quality of our players but now is the time for this team to look forward to [UEFA] Euro 2016 qualifiers. We lacked experience and cool heads at crucial moments in the opening two games but I cannot complain about effort. That's just football.
Bosnia and Herzegovina surprised fans all over the globe with a spirited performance in their opening match against tournament favourites Argentina, losing 2-1. The 1-0 loss against Nigeria was painful, however, as the team didn't play up to standards and had a legitimate goal taken away minutes before Nigeria opened the scoring.
The Bosnians proved they belonged at this tournament with a 3-1 win over Iran, but it now seems that wasn't enough for Susic to exit the tournament satisfied.
With mercurial talents like Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, the young nation has all the necessary pieces to be a contender in European football, and this first World Cup appearance will have served as a learning experience for an inexperienced group of players.
Writing for Soccernomics, Ben Lyttleton predicted this would happen:
Interestingly enough, the manager of Bosnia's final opponents, Carlos Queiroz, also decided to step down from his post, per FIFA.
Susic and Queiroz will join Cesare Prandelli and Sabri Lamouchi on the list of managers who didn't survive the 2014 World Cup, but unlike the other three, Susic can look back on the past campaign with his head held high.
Guiding the team to their first World Cup and going home with three points and a strong performance against Lionel Messi's Argentina team is nothing to scoff at, and Susic will surely have plenty of interested suitors to choose from in the near future.
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