Saturday 25 November 2017

Heat is on

Ireland face intimidating night: Begovic

Asmir Begovic of Chelsea in action
Asmir Begovic of Chelsea in action

Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic believes that Ireland's players will be intimidated by Bosnia's tiny home stadium in Zenica tomorrow night.

With less than 900 away fans tucked away in a ground that only holds 10,500, Irish supporters will be vastly outnumbered as Bosnia aim to keep up a tremendous home record which has seen them dispatch nations like Wales in recent months.

Begovic, speaking to The Herald before his side trained in Zenica last night, played down any talk of a 'cauldron of hate' but he does stress that Ireland - including his ex-Stoke team-mates Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson - will not enjoy their trip.

"I don't know about 'welcome to Hell', I have heard that phrase about other cities and stadiums," Begovic told The Herald.

"But it is very intimidating for the away team. It will be a very strong, pro-Bosnian crowd, we love playing in front of them, we have a great record in Zenica and we hope to carry that on tomorrow.

"It will be a great atmosphere, we always have great backing there.

"The fans here in Zenica always look forward to the game, it's always a packed house.

"It's very intimidating for other teams and I think all of that - the pitch, the crowd, the atmosphere - will play in our favour."

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