Bosnia and Herzegovina are set to begin a new era under a new coach after their FIFA World Cup™ campaign ended on Wednesday, while Iran will also begin their search for Carlos Queiroz's replacement after not renewing his contract.
Coach of the Balkan team, Safet Susic, has announced he will step down now that the group stage has concluded. Bosnia and Herzegovina, without a chance of progressing before Wednesday's game against Iran, won 3-1 at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova.
"This was my last game at the World Cup," Susic said to Brazilian newspaper Lancenet. "Unfortunately there will not be another one. Sometimes it is a nice feeling to be free of obligations. I can decide my own fate and this is my answer."
Susic, who played for Yugoslavia in the 1982 and 1990 World Cups, came under fire for his defensive-minded tactics in losses to Argentina and Nigeria in Group F.
Sometimes it is a nice feeling to be free of obligations. I can decide my own fate and this is my answer.
"The win against Iran is scant consolation," the 59-year-old said. "But I congratulate my players for a display of commitment and passion against a team needing a win to keep alive their hopes of progressing.
Manchester City's Edin Dzeko scored the Bosnians' first goal against Iran, and said: "We could have done a better job in the World Cup."
Despite being Bosnia and Herzegovina's first appearance at a World Cup finals, much was expected of Susic's side. The team scored 30 goals and conceded just six to finish top ahead of Greece in their qualifying campaign.
"I feel sorry for those we have disappointed," Susic said. "We should have done better by the quality of our players but now is the time for this team to look forward to [UEFA] Euro 2016 qualifiers. We lacked experience and cool heads at crucial moments in the opening two games but I cannot complain about effort. That's just football."
It will not be much consolation but Susic and his team won the admiration of outgoing Iran coach Queiroz: "Congratulations to Bosnia," he said. "With all due respect to Nigeria and Argentina, the best team in the group (Bosnia) didn't qualify. They have great players and they played at another level to us. My players went to their physical and mental limits against Bosnia, but it wasn't possible to get the result."
Iran had held Nigeria to a goalless draw in their opening before falling 1-0 to Argentina. They still had a chance to progress to the Round of 16 heading into Wednesday's match but they came up well short in their final game.
Queiroz, meanwhile, will seek a fresh challenge after coaching Iran for three years. "I've shown my commitment to this project, but I haven't received any new contract offer," the former Manchester United assistant coach said. "It's been an honour for me to work for Iran, I've fallen in love with the country.
"But you can't have a marriage when only one side wants to commit. I waited for them to make an offer, but I haven't received anything, so I've come here to say 'thank you' to those who gave me the opportunity to do this job. I will always have Iranian football, my players and the fans in my heart."