Bosnia and Herzegovina have postponed their upcoming friendly with Russia amid widespread criticism, including from their own players.

Bosnia announced in September they would face Russia in Saint Petersburg on November 19, a day before the World Cup gets under way in Qatar.

The game would have been Russia's first against a European side since being banned from all FIFA and UEFA competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine in February.

However, following complaints from Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, Bosnia's Football Association (NFSBIH) has announced the match will no longer go ahead next month.

"The friendly between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia, which was supposed to be played on November 19, will not be played at that time," Monday's statement read.

"At today's session of the executive board of the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the match planned for November 19 was postponed.

"President of NSFSBIH, Mr. Vico Zeljkovic, stated that the playing of this friendly match will be extended for some future date."

Bosnia failed to reach the World Cup after finishing fourth in their qualification group, while Russia were blocked from taking part in March's play-offs as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Russia's only match since last November was a 2-1 friendly win against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek in September.

The Ukrainian Football Association will appeal to FIFA in a bid to get Iran thrown out of the Qatar World Cup.

A statement from Ukraine’s FA on Monday confirmed its executive committee want Iran to be excluded from the tournament for "possible involvement of Iran in the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine".

Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February. The country's football team reached the final stage of UEFA's qualification play-offs but were beaten by Wales in June.

FIFA and UEFA subsequently banned Russia from playing international football.

The chief executive of Ukrainian Premier League side Shakhtar Donetsk, Sergei Palkin, last week urged FIFA to prevent Iran from competing in Qatar, suggesting Ukraine replace them.

A statement on the Ukrainian FA's website referenced the fact the executive committee had decided to appeal to the world governing body, but did not mention the possibility of replacing them at the tournament.

The statement outlined that the executive had made the decision: "Taking into account media information about systematic human rights violations in Iran, which may violate the principles and norms of the FIFA Statutes, taking into account the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 regarding the imposition of sanctions on Iran and the possible involvement of Iran in the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, to make a request to the FIFA to consider excluding the Iranian national team from the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

Iran's opening game of the World Cup is scheduled to take place on November 21 against England.

Meanwhile, the Bosnia and Herzegovina FA has confirmed the proposed friendly with Russia on November 19 has been postponed, though the intention remains for it to be played "at a future date".

A statement read: "The friendly match between the national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia, which was supposed to be played on November 19 in Saint Petersburg, will not be played at that time.

"At today's session of the Executive Board of the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the match planned for November 19 was postponed. President of NS/FS BiH, Mr. Vico Zeljkovic stated that the playing of this friendly match will be extended for some future date."

Bosnia and Herzegovina have scheduled a friendly against Russia one day before the start of the World Cup, sparking controversy and attracting criticism from within their own ranks.

The match is set to take place in Saint Petersburg on November 19, on the eve of Qatar 2022, with the date and Bosnia's opposition both being highly questionable.

Russia's national teams were banned from international competition following the invasion of Ukraine, weeks before the team were due to start a play-off campaign for a potential spot at the World Cup.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who were due to be potential opponents for Russia, pressured for the ban to take place, while federations representing England, France and the United States quickly made it clear they would not play them under any circumstances.

Bosnia, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the tournament and the decision to play Russia was condemned by midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

"The decision is not good. I am speechless," Pjanic was quoted as saying by Bosnian media. "In the national Football Association, they know what I think."

Benjamina Karic, the mayor of Bosnian capital Sarajevo, also hit out at the decision in a social media post.

"Sarajevo as the city which has been under the longest siege from aggressors and me as a mayor strongly condemn the decision by the national Football Association to play a friendly match with Russia," Karic said.

"Unless the decision is reversed, we will cease cooperation with the Football Association, which so far has been fruitful."

Russia have not played an international match since last November but are due to face Kyrgyzstan this month and Iran in November.

Cole Bassett scored a last-gasp winner on debut as the United States capped a strong 2021 with a 1-0 friendly win over 10-man Bosnia-Herzegovina in Carson on Saturday.

Colorado Rapids midfielder Bassett, 20, swooped on a rebound to break the deadlock in the 89th minute, with Bosnia goalkeeper Nikola Cetkovic unable to hold Jonathan Gomez's effort.

The result extends USA's unbeaten run to four games and makes it 17 wins in the calendar year in their final fixture of 2021.

The visitors had been reduced to 10 men in the 40th minute when Amar Begic was given a straight red card from a hard challenge on Kellyn Acosta.

Jordan Morris had come closest to opening the scoring in the first half, with a header brilliantly saved by Cetkovic with his outstretched leg in the 31st minute.

USA head coach Gregg Berhalter had selected a largely domestic-based squad, with the likes of Weston McKennie, Zack Steffen and Christian Pulisic unavailable.

France failed to bounce back from their surprise Euro 2020 elimination as they were held to a 1-1 draw in 2022 World Cup qualifying by Bosnia-Herzegovina, finishing with 10 men. 

Les Bleus, who went out in the last 16 of the European Championship after a shock penalty shoot-out loss to Switzerland, fell behind to Edin Dzeko’s 36th-minute strike in Strasbourg on Wednesday but were quickly back on terms following a fortuitous goal for Antoine Griezmann. 

Didier Deschamps' side would have been expecting to push on for a win to go six points clear of second-placed Ukraine, who drew 2-2 with Kazakhstan earlier on Wednesday, in the second half of the Group D clash. 

However, after a deadline-day switch from Sevilla to Chelsea failed to materialise, Jules Kounde was shown a red card for a lunge on Sead Kolasinac following a VAR check and France had to settle for a point. 

Kylian Mbappe missed the decisive penalty against Switzerland but went close to getting back on the scoresheet when his effort from the tightest of angles crashed behind off the near post in the 27th minute. 

Miralem Pjanic warmed the gloves of Hugo Lloris before Dezko seized upon a wayward Thomas Lemar pass and drilled a fine 20-yard effort through Presnel Kimpembe's legs and into the bottom-right corner. 

France were somewhat lucky to restore parity three minutes later. Dzeko headed a corner against Griezmann's back and following a VAR check it was clear Ibrahim Sehic had failed to keep the ball out after a slight touch off Dennis Hadzikadunic. 

Aurelien Tchouameni was sent on for his debut at half-time but France's plan was thrown into disarray following Kounde's late tackle on Kolasinac, who had to be replaced by Eldar Civic. 

Bosnia had a couple of chances to steal a famous win, but Smail Prevljak and Pjanic were unable to find the target with their efforts inside the final five minutes.
 

Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal as a below-par France edged past Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in their World Cup qualifying clash on Wednesday. 

The 2018 winners followed up their opening Group D draw against Ukraine with a routine win over Kazakhstan on Sunday, but back-to-back wins did not look likely during a dismal first half from Didier Deschamps' side. 

They perked up in the second period, though, and sealed all three points when Griezmann headed home his 35th international goal in the 60th minute. 

The result means Les Bleus are top of Group D on seven points, four points clear of second-placed Ukraine.

Hugo Lloris, whose 123rd appearance moved him level with Thierry Henry as France's second-most capped player, was twice called into action shortly before the half-hour mark. 

First, he pawed away Darko Todorovic's fierce strike from distance before superbly tipping away Anel Ahmedhodzic's close-range header from a corner. 

Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann cut isolated figures in attack for France in the opening 45 minutes, with Deschamps side going in at the break having had just a single shot on target. 

They improved after the interval and went ahead on the hour mark, Griezmann steering a superb header from Adrien Rabiot's cross into Ibrahim Sehic's top-right corner.

The hosts rarely looked like salvaging a point in the closing stages as France comfortably held on to take command of the group.

 

 

Kylian Mbappe cannot be satisfied with his performances in France's opening two World Cup 2022 qualifiers, according to head coach Didier Deschamps.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward played 77 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Ukraine and just over half an hour in the 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan without finding the net.

He attempted seven shots across those two Group D fixtures, finding the target from three of them, including a penalty that was saved by Alexandr Mokin at Astana Arena on Sunday.

Mbappe's goalscoring record with Monaco and PSG has not quite been matched at international level, having managed 16 goals in 41 appearances for Les Blues.

But despite acknowledging that there is room for improvement from Mbappe, Deschamps does not believe the 22-year-old is low on confidence.

"He cannot be satisfied with what he has done so far," Deschamps said ahead of Wednesday's trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"He was not very leggy in the first game. He was much better off against Kazakhstan and had chances. Of course he wants to score more goals and create them."

Asked if the penalty miss against Kazakhstan has affected Mbappe, Deschamps said: "No, I don't feel it has. It happens to everyone. 

"I know Kylian well. He can, over a match or a period of time, have a spell of efficiency that is a little less good than usual."

Deschamps is spoiled for choice in terms of options across the field, not least in attack where Ousmane Dembele and Kingsley Coman are battling for a starting spot.

Coman started the disappointing draw with Ukraine but was left out against Kazakhstan in favour of Dembele, who made the most of his chance with the opening goal.

"They are players somewhat in the same profile – yet they are not the same," Deschamps said. "They are both dribblers capable of taking opponents out of the game.

"Ousmane can speed past opponents and go fast without the ball. Kingsley can play both sides, even if he has a preference, just like Ousmane."

One player France will have to make do without against Bosnia-Herzegovina is defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has returned to Chelsea with a hamstring injury.

"We know his importance," Deschamps said of Kante's absence. "When he is available, of course I prefer to have him in the team, and that is the same for his team-mates.

"He is an importance player for us, but he is not available on Wednesday and I have lots of other players." 

Mbappe is another fitness doubt for France after hobbling off against Kazakhstan, but Deschamps is not ruling the Manchester United forward out of the Bosnia match.

"Anthony has a little problem with his knee, but we cannot make a decision on his inclusion today," Deschamps said. 

"He is not at his best and will not participate in the training session tonight, but we will take stock tomorrow."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.