Bosnian focus on France
© AFP

Despite first having to overcome Luxembourg, Bosnia-Herzegovina are already thinking about the trip to France next Tuesday that will decide who finishes top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group D.

The Bosnians sit second in the table heading into the final two rounds of matches, one point behind France and four ahead of a Romania side who are all but out of contention.

A win over Luxembourg in Zenica would guarantee Safet Susic's side at least second place in the group - and the play-off place that goes with it - even before facing Les Bleus in Paris on 11 October. Last year, France ran out 2-0 winners in the return fixture in Sarajevo thanks to second-half goals from Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda.

It would be crazy to claim that we are going to Paris to win. Our goal was, and still is, to reach the play-offs.
Safet Susic, Bosnia-Herzegovina coach

"I still consider France favourites as they will have home advantage. They showed their quality in the first match in Sarajevo, and in the qualifiers they have played since," Susic said. "It would be crazy to claim that we are going to Paris to win. Our goal was, and still is, to reach the play-offs."

Susic, 56, spent a decade as a player in France with Paris Saint-Germain - where he is considered one of their greatest ever players - and later with another capital club, Red Star Belgrade. Now his target is to guide the former Yugoslav republic, which has been independent since 1992, to its first ever major finals at EURO 2012.

"We have never discussed the possibility of qualifying directly for the European Championship, but as athletes we have the right to hope that we can achieve a lot in one match," he added. "We will play unburdened [in Paris] and this is where I see our chance."

Dzeko believes in Bosnia
Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko insists that the mood in the camp is good as decision time approaches. "We will be happy just to qualify for the play-offs but reaching the European Championship finals would be the best way to crown our run of good results and good performances," he said. "We have the character and the quality to compete with anyone, so why not the French?"

Meanwhile, captain Emir Spahic is familiar with many of Laurent Blanc's squad, having plied his trade in Ligue 1 with Montpellier before joining Sevilla in the summer. "We are eagerly awaiting the match with the French," the 31-year-old centre-back said.

"We were definitely below our best, but we have made a lot of progress since," he added, in reference to the 2-0 defeat by the same opponents last year. "We are full of self-confidence, are stronger and are working better as a team."