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Bosnia awaits warm soccer welcome in St. Louis

November 17, 2013

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lionel Messi’s last-minute scratch from an Argentina-Bosnia World Cup exhibition on Monday isn’t dampening excitement in St. Louis, home to one of the largest Bosnian communities outside Sarajevo.

The four-time world player of the year injured his leg a week ago while playing for FC Barcelona and isn’t expected to return until 2014.

But Messi would only have been a secondary attraction for the 70,000 Bosnians who have flocked to St. Louis over the past two decades after war in the former Yugoslovia. The Bosnia-Herzegovina national team will join traditional power Argentina in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for its first appearance.

The Bosnian roster includes Vedad Ibisevic, who starred for a St. Louis high school and at Saint Louis University. He plays in the Bundesliga, Germany’s top division.

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