Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • June 15, 6 p.m. ET
  • CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup

What’s at stake

Argentina has kicked off their last five World Cup campaigns with a win. They want to keep that trend going strong.

“The Dragons,” as Bosnia-Herzegovina are known, were very impressive in qualifying. They won eight of their 10 matches. And beating Mexico 1-0 in a recent World Cup warm-up match shows that this small country plays well in big games.

The teams have played each other only twice — friendlies in 1998 and 2013 — with Argentina winning both by a cumulative score of 7-0.

Impact players

  • Argentina: Lionel Messi. There appear to be few records this diminutive and incredibly talented forward has not broken. But he’s yet to win the biggest trophy of all. Messi intends to change that.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: Edin Dzenko. This Man City striker scored 10 goals during World Cup qualifying for his country, second only to Holland’s Robin van Persie among European players.

What to watch for

Scoring. And possibly lots of it.

Messi and team mate Gonzalo Higuain were the most prolific striking partnership in World Cup qualifying by scoring 10 and nine goals respectively.

Bosnia-Herzegovina scored at least three goals in six of their 10 qualifiers.

They said it

  • "We all have pressure for being there. We have to leave him [Messi] relaxed. You do not have to talk with him. He knows it all well. This is a team and you do not have to charge him with a responsibility which does not fit.”— Alejandro Sabella, manager for Argentina, as quoted on espnfc.com.
  • “We’ll be one of the smallest nations. We’ll go and enjoy the experience and try to cause a couple of upsets.” —​ Asmir Begovic, goalkeeper for Bosnia-Herzegovina, speaking to FIFA.com. (Begovic is actually from Edmonton and played for Canada in the U-20 World Cup in 2007.)

The big number

1 — Bosnia-Herzegovina is the only team making its World Cup debut this year. And they arrive in Brazil intent on showing the world that this won’t be their last World Cup.

Obligatory fun fact

According to his mother, Messi has “simple gastronomic tastes”. As she wrote in her cookbook, aptly named “Messi”, the Argentinian number 10 loves to eat chicken with a sauce made of pepper, onions, tomatoes and oregano.