sport

Begovic: Time to shine

Asmir Begovic is aware that the Bosnia-Herzegovina squad must shoulder 'huge responsibility' as they prepare to grace the World Cup stage.

Bosnia will be making their first appearance at a major international tournament this summer since gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1992.

Expectations are high that a side boasting the considerable talents of Stoke goalkeeper Begovic, Roma playmaker Miralem Pjanic, Stuttgart forward Vedad Ibisevic and Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko can shine under the global spotlight.

Begovic insists the players are ready to embrace that pressure, with there a determination on their part to 'put smiles' on the faces of those that have had to cope with so much.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "With our appreciation of the past, we recognise we have a duty as footballers to represent our country in the best possible way, to give the people something to cheer about and put smiles on their faces.

"We carry a huge responsibility. But that's just the way we like it."

Begovic is also convinced that Bosnia can continue to build towards a brighter future as they prepare to face Argentina, Nigeria and Iran in Group F.

He added: "While we have finally broken that barrier of qualifying for a major tournament, we have known for some time that we have a strong crop of players.

"It is the best Bosnia ever and we are making the most of it, so for that reason it doesn't altogether surprise that we're in Brazil.

"If we can keep producing brilliant youngsters, then we can continue to grow."