By Peter Staunton in Cuiaba
Safet Susic has talked up his striker Edin Dzeko ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina's crucial Group F clash against Nigeria on Saturday. The Dragons' talisman failed to find the mark in the first matchday defeat to Argentina on Sunday but Susic believes that Dzeko deserves to be mentioned alongside the best players in the world.
"Dzeko is as important to us as Ronaldo for Portugal, Neymar for Brazil or Messi for Argentina," he said of the 35-goal frontman in Cuiaba's Arena Pantanal.
The Bosnian record goalscorer is the focal point of the teams attacks with Vedad Ibisevic shunted to the bench in a new-look 4-2-3-1 formation but in dropping the Stuttgart forward Susic believes he has not compromised the team's attacking mindset.
"Even when we play with one typical attacker, we never play with just one," he said. "We have in midfield players who want to go forward, wingers who always participate in attacks. In any situation we have five or six up front."
Bosnia-Herzegovina are in need of goals on Saturday as a defeat to the reigning Africa Cup of Nations holders will see their debut World Cup campaign end after only two matches. Susic, however, believes that with so many of his squad featuring at top European clubs, they should be regarded as favourites to qualify.
"We set ourselves the goal to qualify, not just attempting to do so. I expect it. After Argentina we are the best team in our group."
A 2-1 defeat to Argentina in the Maracana has left Bosnian hopes hanging by a thread as Nigeria picked up a point against Iran meaning the European side have little margin for error.
"We are in the most uncomfortable position of all the teams," said Susic. "If we lose we can pack our bags and head home. The others have a particular chance of progressing. Everyone is aware of the importance of the match."
"We have ambitions to progress out of the group. I am convinced we have not seen the last of this team. We are a team who cherishes attacking football. We want to win."