Bosnia-Herzegovina fell just short in their third attempt to reach the final phase of a FIFA World Cup™, finishing third in their Group 7 qualifying campaign for Germany 2006.
Nevertheless, this was the best showing in Bosnia's short history as they racked up four wins and four draws with only two defeats in a group dominated by Serbia and Montenegro. Even Spain had to be content with a play-off spot.
Bosnia played particularly well against the top teams, twice holding Spain and going down narrowly 1-0 away to Serbia and Montenegro as well as managing to draw with them at home. It was Belgium who gave them the most trouble, drawing in Bosnia and inflicting a 4-1 defeat of their opponents in Brussels. Bosnia also dropped points at home to Lithuania, drawing 1-1 against the team they beat 1-0 in Vilnius.
The fledgling nation features such cultured individual talents as Hasan Salihamidzic and captain Sergej Barbarez.
The Bosnian Football Association was founded in 1992 after the war and became a FIFA member in 1996. Bosnia-Herzegovina played their first qualifying campaign for a FIFA World Cup in 1996/97. Two victories against Slovenia and a home win over Denmark saw the Bosnians finish next to bottom in their group, although they could take some encouragement from being the only team to beat group winners Denmark.
In qualifying for Korea/Japan 2002, Bosnia managed just two victories, both against Liechtenstein. They finished second from bottom in their group again and failed to qualify for the finals.