Pjanic: Nigeria game is important for the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Roma midfielder insists that the players are fired up for their clash with the Super Eagles and says he will be hugely disappointed if they fail to reach the last 16

Miralem Pjanic says he is aware that their game with Nigeria is as important to supporters in Bosnia-Herzegovina as it is for the squad.

The Balkan nation ran Argentina close in their Group F opener, but fell to a 2-1 defeat after an own goal from Sead Kolasinac and an indivdual effort from Lionel Messi, despite replying late on through Vedad Ibisevic.

Pjanic acknowledged that a win in their clash with Nigeria was now essential if they are able to progress beyond the group stages in their maiden World Cup finals and stressed he would be satisfied with nothing less than the chance to reach the last 16.

“This is important, a key match,” the 24-year-old told a press conference.

“We are raring to go. We can hardly wait for it. We know how important it is. If we lose, it’s over. We will not let that happen. We will fight. It is an important match not just for us players but for the whole country. 

“We have certain players who want to bring our national side to the very top. I play for the national side to win. I’m not satisfied with losing.

“This World Cup would be greatly disappointing if we got stuck in the group. This mentality is right. We are never satisfied. After the Argentina game, who are better than us, we were disappointed. It’s the only way to make progress.”

Pjanic also hailed the impact of Muhamed Besic after the 21-year-old’s performance against Argentina.

“Muhamed has made a very good impression on me,” he continued.

“He is a high-quality player, he means a lot to us. We are all satisfied with his efforts, the will he demonstrates, how he plays. I think that we are a much better team as a sum of all our parts and not as individuals.”

Pjanic: We don't fear Argentina

The Roma star says his side possess the quality to challenge anyone on the biggest stage as they prepare for their World Cup opener on Sunday

Miralem Pjanic has insisted Bosnia-Herzegovina have no fear of Argentina ahead of their World Cup clash on Sunday.

Safet Susic’s side go up against the South American giants in their opening match of Group F at the nation’s first ever World Cup. 

And despite the prospect of facing the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, playmaker Pjanic is confident that his country can give Argentina a run for their money.

“We will be against one of the favourites in Argentina, but we have the expertise to challenge them,” he told Sky Sport 24 .

“We do not fear anyone because we believe in our chances.

“Many of us have played in big European tournaments and know how to deal with certain situations.

“Progressing from the group is our goal. Brazil is beautiful, we are realising how fascinating this country is.”

Bosnia-Herzegovina will be making their first ever World Cup finals appearance and follow up their Group F opener with Argentina with matches against Nigeria and Iran.

Pjanic signs three-year contract extension with Roma

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international, who has been heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain, has committed his future to the Serie A giants until 2018

Roma playmaker Miralem Pjanic has signed a three-year contract extension at Stadio Olimpico, tying him to the club until 2018.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has played a pivotal role in Roma’s return to prominence in Serie A this term, missing just two league games as Rudi Garcia’s side battled with newly-crowned champions Juventus.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been credited with interest in the 24-year-old, whose deal had been set to expire at the end of next season, but Pjanic has now committed his future to the club until June 2018.

A Roma statement read: “AS Roma wish to announce that an agreement has been reached with Miralem Pjanic for the extension of his current contract, which was was due to expire on June 30, 2015.

“The new agreement is for four years, with an expiration date of June 30, 2018.”

Pjanic is in the Roma side to face Juventus later on Sunday.

Bosnia pick two strikers in World Cup squad

Entering their first ever World Cup as an independent nation, Bosnia have released a provisional 24-man squad to take to Brazil in the summer

Bosnia-Herzegovina will be reliant on Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic as their only strike options at next month’s World Cup as they announce their squad for the competition.

The two front men started every one of Bosnia’s 10 qualifying matches as Safet Susic’s men reached their first ever finals as an independent nation by topping Group G on goal difference ahead of Greece.

Dzeko and Ibisevic were instrumental in their successful campaign, netting 18 goals between them, and Susic named a 24-man squad on Monday with the pair named as the only two out-and-out strikers.

The squad will have to be cut by one by the time the tournament comes round, with Bosnia drawn against Argentina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F in Brazil.

Two men sure to be included in the final party are Dzeko and Ibisevic, who will spearhead the Bosnian attack, while Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be a key member at the other end of the field.

Susic discussed the inclusion of Ferencvaros’ Muhamed Besic, praising the defender’s performances for his club side.

“He is the only player who can stop Lionel Messi,” he is quoted as saying by Klix. “I have had no problems with him, he’s playing wonderfully in Hungary.

“He’s a good guy and I think he has a bright future when it comes to the team.

“Our goal is to pass into the second round. Whether we realise it, that’s another thing. I do not believe that Nigeria and Iran are a better team at the moment. I hope we can be among the top 16.”

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Jasmin Fezjic (Aalen).

Defenders: Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Toni Sunjic (Zorya), Ognjen Vranjes (Elazigspor), Ervin Zukanovic (Gent).

Midifelders: Anel Hadzic (Sturm Graz), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyespor), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Zvjezdan Misimovic (Guizhou Renhe), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg), Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Tino Susic (Hajduk Split), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB), Avdija Vrsajevic (Hajduk Split).

Forwards: Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Vedad Ibisevic (Stuttgart).

Ljajic hails Pjanic: It was a once-in-a-lifetime goal against AC Milan

The Serbia international was left in awe of his team-mate, who danced his way through the Rossoneri defence before opening the scoring at the Stadio Olimpico with a cool finish

Adem Ljajic has praised Roma team-mate Miralem Pjanic for his once-in-a-lifetime goal in Friday’s 2-0 win over AC Milan.

With Juventus on the verge of another title, Rudi Garcia’s men had to pick up maximum points to prevent the Turin giants potentially claiming the crown on Monday night, and the Bosnian’s fine solo goal combined with Gervinho’s second-half strike to secure maximum points for the capital side.

And Ljajic paid tribute to his colleague for making a vital breakthrough, with Pjanic jinking his way past two players as he danced his way straight through the heart of the Milan defence before coolly sliding the ball past Christian Abbiati.

“In the first 15 minutes, we didn’t play well but then we raised our rhythm and Pjanic scored a goal the likes of which you only see once in your life,” he enthused. “After the break, we played our game and the victory arrived like this.

“We’re not going to give up until the end but it doesn’t depend solely on us. We’re waiting for Juventus here [on May 9]. We can win against anyone.”

Meanwhile, Ljajic revealed that he wants to remain at Roma “for a long time” but says that his future will only be decided at the end of the season.

The Serbia international only joined the Giallorossi from Fiorentina for an initial €11 million last summer but he has failed to nail down a regular starting berth in Rudi Garcia’s team, and Viola boss Vincenzo Montella admitted last week that he would welcome the 22-year-old back at the Artemio Franchi with open arms.

However, while Ljajic freely admits the he does not know what the future holds for him, he is hoping that he will still be at the Stadio Olimpico next season.

“I hope to stay at Roma for a long time,” the attacker told Sky Sport Italia. “I like this city and I like playing in this team.

“We’ll see at the end of the season what the club decide. We’ll speak again when the championship’s finished.”