Prosinecki resigns as Bosnia coach after Armenia debacle

(Reuters) - Robert Prosinecki stepped down as Bosnia’s head coach after their 4-2 defeat in Euro 2020 qualifying on Sunday left them with only a forlorn chance of reaching the finals, the Balkan nation’s football association said.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

“I have spoken to everyone and the crux of it is that I have resigned,” Prosinecki was quoted as saying on the Bosnian FA official website on Sunday.

“When I took over I was confident we’d qualify for the European Championship and we’ve failed. My successor will have enough time to prepare the team for the Nations League playoffs.

“I was very optimistic and I still think Bosnia is a very good team but something obviously isn’t right. It seems I have failed to motivate the team,” said the 50-year old former Croatia midfielder.

The defeat left the Bosnians fourth in Group J on seven points from six games, eight behind leaders Italy who have won all their five matches.

Second-placed Finland, who were playing the Italians later on Sunday, have 12 points from five games and third-placed Armenia are on nine from six after their impressive home win over the Bosnians.

Although they have only a mathematical chance of reaching Euro 2020 by finishing in the top two in their group, Bosnia could still advance to the finals via the Nations League.

They topped their League B group ahead of Austria and Northern Ireland, meaning that they have qualified for the playoffs also including Denmark, Sweden and Ukraine, the winners of the second tier’s other three pools.

The playoff winners will qualify for the European Championship to be held across Europe next year.

Prosinecki, who won the 1991 European Cup with Red Star Belgrade and finished third with Croatia in the 1998 World Cup as a player, took over at Bosnia in January 2018 and enjoyed a 10-game unbeaten start.

Bosnia’s 5-0 home win over Lichtenstein on Thursday seemed to have got their qualifying campaign back on track but two late goals in the Armenia setback was the final straw for Prosinecki.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic Editing by Ian Chadband