Greece Versus Bosnia: A Brief, But Dramatic, History
This Friday’s match between Greece and Bosnia promises to be a tense and potentially explosive World Cup qualifier. The two teams have only played each other eight times in their history and Greece hold the edge with 4 wins, one loss and three draws between the two sides. However, recent matches have been true battles and the rivalry seems to be picking up steam with each passing meeting.
AGONAsport takes a closer look at the matches between the two sides since their first meeting in 1996.
1. September 1, 1996: Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-0 (1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
In the first meeting between the two teams, Greece secured a relatively comfortable 3-0 victory in Kalamata. Current Panathinaikos boss, Marinos Ouzounidis opened the scoring for Greece in the 41st minute. The second half saw Stratos Apostolakis (77th) and Demis Nikolaidis (84th) finish off the tie.
2. April 2, 1997: Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-1 (1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
The second meeting between Greece and Bosnia was a much tighter affair. Greece prevailed once again, however only thanks to a moment of magic from substitute Kostas Frantzeskos. Six minutes after coming on, set-piece specialist Frantzeskos produced a fine free-kick in the 74th minute that snuck in to give Greece the points.
3. October 11, 2006: Bosnia-Herzegovina-Greece 0-4 (EURO 2008 Qualifier)
Greece romped to a 4-0 away to Bosnia in late 2006. The match was perhaps much closer than the scoreline suggests, but a late flurry by the Ethniki suggested a rout. Angelos Charisteas opened the scoring with a 9th minute penalty. Then, Greece waited until the last eight minutes to score three more times thanks to goals from Christos Patsatzoglou (82’), Georgios Samaras (85’), and Kostas Katsouranis (90+).
4. October 13, 2007: Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-2 (EURO 2008 Qualifier)
The return tie was much closer affair. Greece opened the scoring through Charisteas 10 minutes in, but Bosnia equalized shortly after the break. Goals from Theofanis Gekas (57’) and Nikos Lymberopoulos (72’) sealed the victory though a late Vedad Ibisevic goal made it a tense finish.
5. August 10, 2011: Bosnia-Herzegovina-Greece 0-0 (International Friendly)
The two teams could not be separated in a fairly low-key friendly in Bosnia.
6. October 12, 2012: Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-0 (2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
A second 0-0 draw between the two countries followed a year later in Piraeus. It was a frustrating night for Greece, who had the better of play and hit the woodwork twice, but could not make the breakthrough.
7. March 22, 2013: Bosnia-Herzegovina-Greece 3-1 (2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
March 2013 saw Bosnia pick up their first win over Greece. It was a dominant display by the Bosnians who scored three goals from set pieces to run out to a 3-0 lead (Edin Dzeko 29th, 53rd and Ibisevic 36th). The only thing Greece could do was grab a consolation goal in injury time through Gekas.
8. November 13, 2016 Greece-Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-1 (2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier)
The two team’s most recent fixture was by far the most intriguing. And it was a battle in every sense of the word that including 12 yellow cards, two reds and over 30 fouls. Bosnia took the lead in the 32nd minute as Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick hit the post and went in off of Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.
Both sides had chances afterward, though Asmir Begovic in particular, did very well to deny Kostas Mitroglou and Kostas Fortounis as the Ethniki fought for an equalizer. An altercation in the 78th minute saw Edin Dzeko take off Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ shorts and the two teams came together. Dzeko was sent off as was Kyriakos Papadopoulos as both teams were reduced to 10 men.
There was unbelievable late drama however and it was the Greeks who celebrated a massive point. That was thanks to Giorgos Tzavellas’ rocket from outside the area that beat Begovic and made it 1-1 five minutes into injury-time.