Bosnia-Herzegovina, very much the home team when it played a match against Argentina here in November, will return to St. Louis in May for a World Cup warmup match against Ivory Coast.
The teams will meet at the Edward Jones Dome on May 30 as they make their way to Brazil, where the World Cup begins June 12. The Rams announced the game on their website, though an official for the Convention and Visitors Commission, which runs the Dome, said the contract hadn’t been finalized yet. “We were a bit surprised by the announcement,” he said. But they were optimistic the deal would be completed soon. The start time of the match has not been set.
Tickets will go on sale March 17 through the league’s website, www.mlssoccer.com/roadtobrazil, though there will be a presale for Rams season-ticket holders.
As was done for the Real Madrid-Inter Milan match at the Dome in August, natural grass will be laid on top of the Dome’s artificial surface.
Promoters are again trying to take advantage of the area’s large Bosnian population. When Bosnia played Argentina at Busch Stadium, it drew 30,387 fans, almost all rooting for Bosnia. The game is part of a series called Road to Brazil, promoted by Major League Soccer. Of the seven matches that make up the series, the game here is the only one not at an MLS venue or linked to an MLS team.
FIFA rules limit warmup matches in the host country of the World Cup, so teams from other continents are looking to North America to practice and play tuneup games before heading to Brazil. The United States, with abundant facilities to train and play, is an obvious destination.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is in its first World Cup, after finishing first in its World Cup group. Bosnia is ranked 17th by FIFA. One of its big stars is Vedad Ibisevic, a forward with German club Stuttgart who played at Roosevelt High and St. Louis University.
Ivory Coast is in its third consecutive World Cup, and while it has won a match in each of the previous two, it has never gotten out of the first round. Ivory Coast is ranked 23rd in FIFA’s most recent rankings but is the No. 1 team from Africa. Ivory Coast easily won its second-round qualifying group and then defeated Senegal in a home-and-home series to advance to Brazil. The team’s star is striker Didier Drogba, who for many years played in England for Chelsea and now is with Galatasaray in Turkey. He is the nation’s all-time goal scorer with 62 in 98 international games.
On a smaller scale, another soccer match will be played in St. Louis on March 22, a preseason match between Kansas City and Chicago in the National Women’s Soccer League at the A-B Conference Center in Fenton.
SOURCE: St. Louis Post Dispatch
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