Bosnia coach Safet Susic rues what might have been after exit
Side bow out despite 3-1 victory over Iran in last group game where pride was at stake
Agence France-Presse in Salvador
Bosnia-Herzegovina coach Safet Susic was left to rue what might have been after his side bowed out despite a 3-1 win over Iran.
Goals by man-of-the-match Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic killed off Iran's faint dreams of a victory to keep alive their last 16 aspirations.
Striker Reza Ghoochannejad gave Iran late, forlorn hope of a fightback with their only goal of the World Cup on 82 minutes, but Bosnia instantly added their third through Avdija Vrsajevic.
The result left Bosnia third in group F, with Iran bottom, as Argentina and Nigeria qualified first and second respectively for the last 16.
"This was very important for us, we had to leave a good impression behind and be able to come home with heads up high," said Susic.
Bosnia, whose elimination had been confirmed prior to kick-off, are still smarting after a refereeing mistake contributed to their 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in their previous match.
"It's not a satisfactory end to our World Cup," added Susic.
"We could have done more and should have made that extra step.
"Had we had more luck, played slightly better football and had a few less refereeing errors, we'd be in the next round."
After five years in charge, the 59-year-old Bosnia boss was cagey on his future, having said on the eve of the match that he would announce his plans in the next 10 days.
"This is my last World Cup match, sometimes it's nice to be free of obligations, now I can decide my own fate," he said.
"I can't tell you either way [whether or not I will resign], I said I would be sad to say goodbye to this team, but that day is yet to come. If I had a definitive answer, I'd give it."
Iran needed to beat Bosnia and hoped Nigeria lost to Argentina to keep alive their hopes of a knockout round spot, but Carlos Queiroz's side fell well short.
"Congratulations to Bosnia. With all due respect to Nigeria and Argentina, the best team in the group [Bosnia] didn't qualify," said Queiroz, who quit after the match as expected.
"They have great players and played at another level to us.
"My players went to their physical and mental limits, but it wasn't possible to get the result."
The 61-year-old said his side were still feeling the physical effects of their late 1-0 defeat to Argentina, thanks to a Lionel Messi wonder goal in added time. "We squeezed all the energy out of the team after Argentina, they had nothing left, but they still battled hard for 90 minutes," he said.