Bosnia coach Safet Susic has a simple but stubborn logic that has followed him throughout his football career: Attack is the best defense.
Guiding Bosnia to its first World Cup is the greatest triumph of Susic’s not-so-extensive coaching career. And the tournament in Brazil will provide a stern test of his training skills.
Bosnia scored 30 goals in qualifying — 10 coming from Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. The team conceded only six in 10 matches.
“We have to play like we are doing now,” Susic said. “It may sound tactically risky, but I think it would be wrong to play differently.”
Once an attacking midfielder who played more than 350 games for Paris Saint-Germain, the 58-year-old Susic coached in France and Turkey before taking over the national team in 2009.
His hiring led to protests in Bosnia — because fans were angry it took him so long to become coach.
“I did it once I realized that this team has a potential to do something big,” Susic said. “And, now I don’t regret it.”
Susic, a football great in the former Yugoslavia before it broke up in a bloody civil war, has an offensive squad including Dzeko and Stuttgart stiker Vedad Ibisevic, and a couple of very creative but also attack-minded midfielders in Miralem Pjanic of Roma and Zvjezdan Misimovic of Chinese club Guizhou Renhe.
“It would be unfair to the game and above all to the fans if we were to constrain such a talent,” Susic said. “After all, we are playing to score more goals than our opponents and so far it has paid off.”
Bosnia will play Argentina, Nigeria and Iran in Group F, and Susic believes his team can reach the second round.
“Argentina is by far the best team in our group, and they should finish first,” Susic said. “Our target is to join them in the next round.
“I think our chances are very realistic, because at this moment, both Nigeria and Iran are not better teams then us. I fully expect that we pass into the second round.”