SALVADOR (BRAZIL), June 26 (IANS): Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded their first victory in the FIFA World Cup finals after goals from Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Avdija Vrsaljevic them a 3-1 win over Iran in the third round Group F match here Wednesday.
Although the Iranians were eager to grab a win in order to keep their last 16 hope alive, it was Bosnia and Herzegovina that controlled the rhythm early in the match, reports Xinhua.
Manchester City star forward Dzeko brought down the ball and lashed toward home in the box four minutes into the match, only to see his effort deflected off the target.
But the 1.93-metre striker did not wait too long to open the scoring.
His accurate long shot went beyond the reach of keeper Alireza Haghighi and into the lower corner of the net in the 23rd minute.
The gritty Iranians responded immediately as Masoud Shojaei from Spanish club Las Palmas received a low cross at the edge of the box and rattled the woodwork in the 24th minute.
Bosnia and Herzegovina led 1-0 at the break and Iran tried to enhance their attack to turn over the match in the second half.
But for most of the time the ball was possessed by the European team, leaving the Iranians busy defending.
Bosnia and Herzegovina doubled their advantage in the 60th minute.A
An unguarded Roma midfielder Pjanic received a through ball inside the box in an apparently offside position.
He drove home with his right foot and the referee validated the goal.
Iran managed to narrow the gap to 2-1 in the 82nd minute when Charlton Athletic striker Reza Ghoochannejhad tapped in a cross from the far post, which was Iran's first goal of the tournament.
However, Bosnia and Herzegovina only need one minute to restore their two-goal lead.
A dashing Avdija Vrsaljevic outraced Iranian defender in a fast break and hit the far post before it bounced into the net.
This was the first victory for Bosnia and Herzegovina in their first trip to the World Cup finals.
And it was also their first win against Iran since they suffered four defeats and one draw in their previous five encounters, which were all friendly matches.
The 1-3 loss left Iran at the bottom of Group F with only one point from three matches.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also failed to qualify for the knockout stage following two previous defeats to Argentina and Nigeria.