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June 26, 2017

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Bosnia defeat sends Iran crashing at World Cup

SALVADOR, Brazil -- Edin Dzeko weighed in with a first-half goal as Bosnia-Herzegovina knocked Iran out of the World Cup with a 3-1 win in Salvador on Wednesday.

Iran had needed to beat Bosnia and hope Nigeria lost to Argentina to keep alive faint hopes of reaching the last 16, but Carlos Queiroz's side came up well short in the Group F clash.

"Congratulations to Bosnia. With all due respect to Nigeria and Argentina, the best team in the group (Bosnia) didn't qualify," said Queiroz.

"They have great players and they played at another level to us.

"My players went to their physical and mental limits today, but it wasn't possible to get the result."

A powerful strike by Manchester City star Dzeko, the man-of-the-match, gave Bosnia an early lead before Miralem Pjanic added a second just before the hour to settle a relatively dull affair at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova.

The game burst into life in the final minutes as Iran striker Reza Ghoochannejad netted his side's first goal of the tournament, but Bosnia replied immediately with an Avdija Vrsajevic goal.

The result confirmed both teams' exit as Argentina and Nigeria reached the knock-out stages by finishing first and second respectively in the table after the Argentinians' 3-2 win in Porto Alegre.

Bosnia, whose elimination had already been confirmed prior to the game, are left to rue what might have been after refereeing mistakes contributed to their 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their previous match.

"This was was very important for us, we had to leave a good impression behind and be able to come home with heads up high," said Bosnia coach Safet Susic.

"But it's not a satisfactory end.

"We could have done more and should have made that extra step.

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