Dzeko: Ireland still dangerous despite key absentees

The Bosnia-Herzegovina striker does not think that injuries to a number of first-team regulars will make Martin O’Neill’s side any less of a threat

Edin Dzeko has warned his Bosnia-Herzegovina team-mates to take nothing for granted against Republic of Ireland, after their 1-0 win over Germany.

The two sides meet in Zenica on Friday in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off, with both nations vying for a place in next summer’s tournament in France.

Ireland have suffered injuries to key players during their qualifying campaign, with John O’Shea and Shane Long in danger of missing both legs, while Jon Walters is suspended for the trip to Bosnia.

However, Roma striker Dzeko still expects the visitors to offer a stern test.

“Maybe some of their most important players are not playing in the first game, so it’s a big problem for them, but they have other good players who can jump in, so I don’t think it’s a big advantage for us,” he said.

“They have some important players, some experienced players, who can bring something different to the team – like they did against Germany, because it’s not easy doing it against them. If you win, you must be a good team.”

Asked if the Bosnians, who finished behind Belgium and Wales in Group B, are favourites to progress, Dzeko said: “No, I think it’s 50-50.

“It doesn’t matter that some of our players are playing in the Champions League because Ireland have players with a lot of experience who have already played in big games.

“I know almost all the Irish players – they all play in England in the best league in the world and they are there because they have their individual qualities, they are good players.

“Even if some of them are missing, they are a good team which will definitely never give up, I know that.”

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