Although the 1-1 draw earned by Martin O’Neill’s side in Zenica on Friday gives Ireland an upper hand, the Chelsea goalkeeper believes the away team can secure their passage to next year’s European Championships by smashing Ireland’s unbeaten record in the campaign.
“Things didn’t work out so well for us in the first leg but the atmosphere amongst the players since about getting the result we need is very positive,” said the 28-year-old last night, before their pre-match workout at Lansdowne Road.
“Honestly, I think that the first tie showed here we have two evenly-matched teams. There’s still not one clear favourite or one such better team.
“Going into the first game, it was difficult to predict, whereas we now know what the situation is. We have to score.
“We can’t go all-out attack. It’s about finding the right balance between being compact and attack.
“The stadium will be full, Ireland’s fans will expect from their team to win, so hopefully we can take advantage of that.
“I know that I find it fun to play in such an atmosphere. We look forward to playing in these environments.
“It’s about trying to execute as much as possible and as well as possible, and then let’s see where it takes us in the end.
“We must concentrate on limiting our mistakes. Once we do that, we have the players to provide an attacking threat.
“Of course, we know we have to score but we believe in ourselves to score and win.” The former Stoke City goalkeeper admitted he will be briefing his teammates on how to counteract the returning Jonathan Walters.
“I know Jon well. He is a seasoned professional who has played in the Premier League for many years,” outlined his pal.
“I will speak to our defenders about Jon because I know him well. But we’ll be ready for his qualities.” When asked whether he’d prepared for the fixture to prolong into extra-time and penalties, Begovic was unflinching.
“Hopefully, we can win the tie in 90 minutes but we will be ready for all eventualities,” he affirmed.
Bosnia-Herzegovina manager Mehmed Bazdarevic will wait on a fitness update on right-back Mensur Mujdza before finalising his starting team.
There is also a doubt over star striker Edin Dzeko’s availability, albeit the Roma forward took a part in last night’s session despite his groin trouble.
“We have a number of options in attack,” noted Bazdarevic when airing the concern about his star goalscorer from the first 90 minutes.
“We always have tactical options. What I am sure of is we will be more aggressive in our approach for this tie.
“The players know what they have do and they are capable of achieving it.”
Everton midfielder Muhammed Besic returns from suspension and is expected to replace Edin Cocalic, who struggled in the holding berth during the home game in Zenica.
Meanwhile, Bazdarevic opened his press briefing by issuing condolences to the victims of the Paris terrorist tragedy.
The former Yugoslavia international spent a decade of his playing career with Sochaux and Nimes Olympique, choosing to remain living in Strasbourg until now.
As a mark of respect, a minute’s silence will be held before kick-off tonight.