Dramatic life of Ibisevic set to peak at World Cup
To everyone who thinks of Bosnia and Herzegovina (150/1 to win the World Cup) national football team, the name Edin Dzeko immediately jumps to mind. However, the Manchester City striker has a more than capable attacking partner in the form of Vedad Ibisevic.
The 29-year-old was born in the war-torn Balkan region of Yugoslavia, but made an apparent lucky escape with some of his family to Switzerland at the age of seven.
Despite the terrors of his early life, Ibisevic grew up in the USA thereafter, and turned out for St Louis Strikers and Chicago Fire Premier, before returning to Europe with now-French giants PSG.
He will lead the attack alongside Dzeko in his country’s first appearance as an independent nation at the World Cup finals in what would be seen as a remarkable achievement, given what he has gone through in his life.
Bosnia are even second-favourites to progress from their Group F – that contains Argentina, Nigeria and Iran – to top that pool at 11/2, and qualify to the knockout rounds at 5/6.
While Dzeko has graced the Premier League this season for the top-flight title winners, Ibisevic (who is 7/2 to top score for his country at the World Cup) represented relegation-threatened Bundesliga side Stuttgart.
He began the campaign in fine form, netting 10 in 20 league games but, following a five-match suspension for an off-the-ball incident, he played out the remaining seven without a goal. But, while Ibisevic and his club team had a frustrating term, the forward continues to impress for Bosnia.
Dzeko is still very much the main man for them in terms of reputation and status, and got the second-highest amount of goals in the European section of World Cup qualifying, but Ibisevic came third-equal on that list. He scored an impressive eight times, equal with world class stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mesut Ozil.
Ibisevic’s uplifting Cinderella story has not ended yet, and the player and Eastern European nation can cause a couple of upsets on the way at the Brazil finals.