Bulgaria national football team

Last updated

Bulgaria
Bulgaria logo 2016.png
Nickname(s) Лъвовете (The Lions)
Association Bulgarian Football Union
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Petar Hubchev
Captain Ivelin Popov
Most caps Stiliyan Petrov (105)
Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov
Hristo Bonev (48)
Home stadium Vasil Levski National Stadium
FIFA code BUL
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Kit right arm bul18h.png
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First colours
Kit left arm bul18a.png
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Kit body bul18a.png
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Kit right arm bul18a.png
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 51 Decrease2.svg 3 (4 April 2019) [1]
Highest3 (June 1995)
Lowest96 (August 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 55 Decrease2.svg 1 (27 March 2019) [2]
Highest3 (August 1975)
Lowest69 (12 November 2016)
First international
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 0–0 Austria  Flag of Austria.svg
(Vienna, Austria; 22 April 1924)
Biggest win
Flag of Bulgaria (1967-1971).svg  Bulgaria 10–0 Ghana  Flag of Ghana.svg
(Leon, Mexico; 14 October 1968)
Biggest defeat
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 1–8 Spain  Flag of Spain.svg
(Madrid, Spain; 21 May 1933)
World Cup
Appearances8 (first in 1930 )
Best resultBronze medal world centered-2.svgSemi-Finals (1994)
Euro Cup
Appearances3 (first in 1968 )
Best resultQuarter-Finals (1968)
Olympics
Appearances5 (first in 1924 )
Best resultSilver medal.svgRunners-Up (1968)
Balkan Cup
Appearances12 (first in 1930 )
Best result Gold medal with cup.svg Champions (1931, 1932, 1948, 1976)

The Bulgaria national football team (Bulgarian : Български национален отбор по футбол) is an association football team of Bulgaria. It is fielded by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA. The team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia and Petar Hubchev is the current national manager. Their best achievements are – reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1994, reaching the Summer Olympics final in 1968, quarter-finals at the UEFA Euro 1968, along with winning four Balkan Cup titles. Although defeating strong top ranked teams in many international friendlies throughout the years, the team's strength has slowly fallen. In result, Bulgaria has failed to qualify for any major tournament since 2004.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian, is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.

Bulgarian Football Union association football governing body in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) is a football association based in Bulgaria and a member of UEFA. It organizes a football league, Bulgarian A Professional Football Group, and fields its Bulgaria national football team in UEFA and FIFA -authorised competitions.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Contents

History

The Beginning

The Bulgarian national football team was formed in 1922. In 1923, The Bulgarian Football Union was formed and the team's first match was held in Vienna on 21 May 1924, which resulted in a 0–0 draw against Austria. Bulgaria had later qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, but had to withdraw due to strong tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean at that time. Despite this unfortunate event, Bulgaria’s power would overtime grow and eventually reach its maximum peak within the next 60 years.

Vienna Capital city and state in Austria

Vienna is the federal capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Austria national football team mens national association football team representing Austria

The Austria national football team is the association football team that represents Austria in international competition and is controlled by the Austrian Football Association . Austria has qualified for seven FIFA World Cups, most recently in 1998. The country played in the UEFA European Championship for the first time in 2008, when it co-hosted the event with Switzerland, and most recently qualified in 2016.

1930 World Cup Withdrawal

Bulgaria's first qualification to a World Cup came 1930 when they qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay. The national team had to cancel their entry due to flight delays caused by tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean. There original group stage opponents were set as Brazil, Yugoslavia and Bolivia. This was a major disappointment to the national side. Bulgaria’s next entrance to a world cup would come almost 32 years later when they qualified for the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

1930 FIFA World Cup 1930 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1930 FIFA World Cup was the inaugural FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Uruguay from 13 to 30 July 1930. FIFA, football's international governing body, selected Uruguay as host nation, as the country would be celebrating the centenary of its first constitution, and the Uruguay national football team had successfully retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. All matches were played in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, the majority at the Estadio Centenario, which was built for the tournament.

Uruguay republic in South America

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname.

Years of International Wilderness

After their disappointment of not being able to compete in their first world cup, the Bulgarian side sadly could not qualify for any major tournament for nearly 30 years. Luck was simply not on their side as they would narrowly fall short of qualification on numerous occasions. The national team had gone on a streak of finishing 2nd or 3rd in their qualifying groups along with proceeding to the play offs, but in the end, failing to qualify. Despite their qualifying problems, the national side did manage to defeat many great teams during memorable international friendlies during those years. It also seemed as if the only tournaments they managed to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they won four times. Finally, after their long stretch of absence, their time of international revival had come. The national side had qualified for the World Cup for the second time, in Chile, 1962.

1960s and 1970s: Rising to prominence

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup for the second time in its history in 1962 and followed that up with consecutive appearances in 1966, 1970 and 1974. The team, however, did not have much success and finished in third place in their group three out of the four times.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

1962 FIFA World Cup 1962 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1962 FIFA World Cup was the seventh FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship for men's national teams. It was held from 30 May to 17 June 1962 in Chile. The qualification rounds took place between August 1960 and December 1961, with 56 teams entering from six confederations, and fourteen qualifying for the finals tournament alongside Chile, the hosts, and Brazil, the defending champions.

1966 FIFA World Cup 1966 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1966 FIFA World Cup was the eighth FIFA World Cup and was held in England from 11 to 30 July 1966. England beat West Germany 4–2 in the final, winning the Jules Rimet Trophy. It is England's only FIFA World Cup title. They were the fifth nation to win and the third host nation to win after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934.

The team qualified for its first ever UEFA European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with impressive wins over Norway (4-2), Sweden (3-0) and Portugal (1-0) before losing to eventual champions and hosts Italy in a two-legged quarter-final. Bulgaria won the first leg 3-2, but lost the second by a 2-0 score to lose 4-3 on aggregate. They remained the only team to have defeated the eventual champions, before their surprising quarter-final finish.

UEFA European Championship European association football tournament for mens national teams

The UEFA European Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UEFA European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are often referred to in the form "UEFA Euro [year]"; this format has since been retroactively applied to earlier tournaments.

Norway national football team national association football team

The Norway men's national football team represents Norway in international association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Norway, the governing body for football in Norway. Norway's home ground is Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo and their head coach is Lars Lagerbäck. It is, as of February 2019, ranked by FIFA as the 48th best national football team in the world.

Sweden national football team mens national association football team representing Sweden

The Sweden national football team represents Sweden in association football and is controlled by the Swedish Football Association, the governing body for football in Sweden. Sweden's home ground is Friends Arena in Stockholm and the team is coached by Janne Andersson. From 1945 to late 1950s, they were considered one of the greatest teams in Europe.

At the 1968 Summer Olympics, the team won the silver medal. They finished first in Group D by defeating Thailand 7–0, Guatemala 2–1, and drawing 2–2 against Czechoslovakia. They advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Israel and then the semi-finals by defeating favored hosts Mexico. In the Olympic Final, the team was defeated by Hungary, in what many would say was a hard fought match for both sides.

The 1968 Olympic football tournament was played as part of the 1968 Summer Olympics. The tournament features 16 men's national teams from five continental confederations. The 16 teams are drawn into four groups of four and each group plays a round-robin tournament. At the end of the group stage, the top two teams advanced to the knockout stage, beginning with the quarter-finals and culminating with the gold medal match at the Azteca Stadium on 26 October 1968. This was the first time an Asian team won a medal, Japan claiming bronze.

Thailand national football team mens national association football team representing Thailand

The Thailand national football team represents Thailand in international men's association football. Officially nicknamed the War Elephants, the team is controlled by the governing body for football in Thailand, Football Association of Thailand, which is a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the regional ASEAN Football Federation (AFF).

Guatemala national football team womens national association football team representing Guatemala

The Guatemala national football team is governed by the Federación Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala. Founded in 1919, it affiliated to FIFA in 1946, and it is a member of CONCACAF.

Despite winning the tournament two times already in 1931 and 1932, the Bulgaria national team added two more Balkan Cup trophies to their case as they went on to win the tournament in 1973 and 1976. In both 1973 and 1976, Bulgaria had used their previous world cup experience to create a very tactical team. This paid off quite well, as they had many decisive victories over Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Poland, Albania and Romania. In fact, the team won the 1976 Balkan Cup by beating Romania in the two-legged final 1–0 and 3–2.

1962 World Cup

Bulgaria finally qualified for their second world cup. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with tough opponents England, power house Argentina and super power house Hungary. Bulgaria opened up their campaign with a narrow 0-1 loss to Argentina. Later on, misery had struck, as Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 1-6 score to Hungary. Bulgaria’s hopes of qualifying were over, but with one world cup match left, they gave it a shot. The national side impressively drew with future 1966 World Cup Champions England 0-0 and finished fourth in the group with only one point.

1966 World Cup

As 4 years passed, so did another chance of world cup success. Bulgaria qualified for their second straight world cup. They were drawn into an even tougher group compared to the previous world cup. They were placed in the group of death with super powers Hungary, Portugal and Brazil, with Pele at the helm. Bulgaria opened their campaign match with a 0-2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pele and Garrincha. Later on Bulgaria carried on with a 0-3 loss to Euseibo's Portugal. Finally Bulgaria, once again with no chance of next round qualification, finished their last match with a 1-3 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria once again finished fourth with zero points in the group. This being Bulgaria’s worst world cup performance yet.

1968 Euro Cup: Quarter-Finals

After their poor world cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves. Bulgaria was drawn in a very tough group with Scandinavian Giants Norway and Sweden along with legend Euseibo's Portugal. Bulgaria started off very well with a 4-2 win over Norway. They would add to their winning streak with a 3-0 destruction of Sweden. There final match determined who would win the group. Bulgaria were downed in the past world cup by Portugal 3-0, and they were ready for fierce revenge. Bulgaria went on to defeat Portugal by a 1-0 score. This would seal Bulgaria as the undefeated group winners which qualified them to the two legged quarterfinal. Bulgaria went on to face Italy, the hosts. Bulgaria started off well, with a 3-2 victory over the Italians. When the second match came, Bulgaria sadly fell 2-0, resulting in elimination from the tournament. Italy would go on to win the European Championship, while Bulgaria were given the 5th-place ranking.

1968 Summer Olympics: Road to the Final

A month and a half after the European Championship, came the Olympics, which Bulgaria had qualified for the 5th time in their history. They were drawn in a simple group with minnows Thailand, tough opponents Guatemala and giants Czechoslovakia. Bulgaria started off with a 7-0 thrashing of Thailand. They later went on and drew with Czechoslovakia 2-2 to increase their point standards. Their final match once again determined if they would carry on to the quarter-finals. Needing a decisive win, Bulgaria went on to defeat Guatemala 2-1 and win their Olympic group. They qualified directly to the quarter-finals facing underdogs, Israel. The game remained 1-1 for most of the match until a drawing of lots determined who would go on to the semi-finals of the tournament. Winning the draw Bulgaria advanced to the semi-finals against Mexico. After a very hard fought match, Bulgaria proved stronger as they came out on top with a 3-2 victory. Bulgaria advanced to the finals for the first time in their Olympic history. They were determined to win the gold medal, but fell short with a 1-4 loss to Hungary. Although battling hard, Bulgaria came out with the silver medal.

1970 World Cup

Bulgaria qualified for their third straight world cup. This time it was in Mexico just like the Olympics two years before. They were drawn in a very tricky group with giants Germany, South American powers Peru and African underdogs Morocco. Bulgaria played their first match against Peru. They were leading the match 2-0 until the Peruvians went on a scoring spree. in result, Bulgaria clumsily fell to Peru 2-3. The second match didn’t change much for Bulgaria as they fell to giants Germany 5-2. With a very slim chance of qualifying, Bulgaria needed a decisive win. They almost achieved this as the national side lead over Morocco for most of the game until the 61st minute. Bulgaria ended up drawing with Morocco 1-1, finishing the group in 3rd place and slightly falling short of next round qualification.

1974 World Cup

Four years later, in Germany, Bulgaria qualified for their fourth straight world cup. They were drawn in a decently tough group, with dutch destroyers Netherlands, up setters Sweden and shockers Uruguay. Bulgaria started off their world cup campaign with Sweden. After a controversial disallowed goal scored by Bulgaria and 90 minutes of no score the game finished as a goalless 0-0 draw. Later on though, Bulgaria drew with Uruguay 1-1 after a hard fought match. Bulgaria remained in good qualifying contention; all they needed to do was tie against the Netherlands. As the final match came, Bulgaria fell by a 1-4 score. Bulgaria remained in the third place group position and sadly once again fell short of the next round. The only positive outcome was that this was their best performance at a world cup, coming off with two points from three matches.

1986 World Cup: The Knockout Rounds

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in Mexico by finishing second in Group Four, behind France with 11 points, but ahead of powerful rivals Yugoslavia and Germany.]. This was their fifth World Cup appearance. They were drawn in Group A with Italy, Argentina, and South Korea. In the opening match of the World Cup, the Bulgarians held the defending champions Italy to an impressive 1–1 draw. A match in which surprised many world spectators. Alessandro Altobelli gave the Italians the lead, but an 85th minute equalizer by Nasko Sirakov gave the Bulgarians the point they needed. The next match was another 1–1 draw against South Korea with the goal for Bulgaria coming from Plamen Getov in the 11th minute. They lost the final match of the group 2–0 against Argentina, who eventually won the tournament. Despite not recording a win, the Bulgarians advanced to the knockout stage by being the third-best third placed team. By doing so, Bulgaria along with Uruguay became the first nations to qualify for the knockout stage without winning a game in the first round. In the Round of 16, they faced World Cup hosts Mexico, who were looking for revenge due to their previous home Olympic semi-final loss to Bulgaria in Mexico City in 1968. The match was hard fought from both sides of the scale but ultimately, Mexico came away with the 2-0 win.

Stoichkov's Reign of the Golden Generation

Hristo Stoichkov, considered the greatest Bulgarian legend & one of the best all time within the sport. He won the Ballon d'or, World & European Golden Boots in 1994. His incredible style of play led Bulgaria to the Semis of World Cup 1994, along with leading FC Barcelona to their first ever UCL European Title in 1992. Stoichkov in 2016.jpg
Hristo Stoichkov, considered the greatest Bulgarian legend & one of the best all time within the sport. He won the Ballon d'or, World & European Golden Boots in 1994. His incredible style of play led Bulgaria to the Semis of World Cup 1994, along with leading FC Barcelona to their first ever UCL European Title in 1992.

1994 World Cup: Final Four Triumph

Certainly one of the most important dates in Bulgarian football history is 17 November 1993, a date where Emil Kostadinov scored two goals in the 90th minute to beat France in Paris, allowing Bulgaria to qualify for the World Cup in the United States in 1994. Under the management of Dimitar Penev, the Bulgarians, led by players such as Hristo Stoichkov, Yordan Lechkov, and Krasimir Balakov, along with a multitude of other talented players remembered in Bulgaria as the "Golden Generation", made a strong impression by surprisingly reaching the semi-finals and earning the bronze medal. They entered a very tough Group D with 1990 World Cup Runners-up Argentina with Diego Maradona at the helm, African Nations Cup Champions Nigeria, and Balkan rivals Greece. The first match ended with a 3–1 defeat to Nigeria. Stoichkov scoring the only goal for Bulgaria off an incredible 40 yard curling free-kick in the 32nd minute to tie the game at 1. Despite the bad start, the team made quite a huge statement by winning 4–0 against their Balkan rivals Greece and increasing their goal difference. Their third and final match came against power house and world cup favorites Argentina. The powerful Bulgarian side came away with a shocking 2–0 victory. Argentina had actually been winning the group going into injury-time. A 91st minute strike from Nasko Sirakov, however, meant that they'd drop two places and finish third. Bulgaria continued to the round of 16, where they faced Mexico. Stoichkov opened the scoring in the 6th minute with an incredible strike off a break away from outside the box, tallying his fourth goal. The match ended 1–1 and after no goals were scored in extra time, penalties decided which team would go through. Team captain Borislav Mihaylov made a very shocking performance by saving the first three penalty kicks in a row, and breaking the world cup record. Bulgaria won 3–1 on penalties with Mihaylov becoming the hero for the Bulgarian Lions. In the quarter-finals, Bulgaria faced the defending world cup champions Germany. At the start of the match held in Giant's Stadium, the Bulgarians were dominating impressivley, hitting the post twice in the process. A majority of the world's football fans were rooting for the legendary Bulgarian side until Lothar Matthäus silenced them by scoring from a penalty to open the scoring. The Bulgarians, however, managed to turn the game over with a swerving free kick by Hristo Stoichkov and a flying header by Yordan Lechkov, giving them a 2–1 win and recording one of the most memorable wins in world cup history. Millions of Bulgarians celebrated this win in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia along with other notable Bulgarian cities. Having reached the semi-finals, this had become the best Bulgarian performance in their world cup history. In the semi-finals, they controversially lost 2–1 to Italy. Stoichkov scored Bulgaria's only goal in the first half to tally his seventh goal, which led the tournament. In the second half, Bulgaria were waved off a penalty in which the Italian defender had clearly committed a handball in the box, off a Kostadinov cross. Despite the unfair officiating, the Bulgarians shocked the world with their entire world cup performance and were eventually given the bronze medals. Hristo Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the tournament with his seven goals, along with making the world cup's top ten best goals list. Krasimir Balakov was named in the all-star 1994 world cup dream team along with Stoichkov. Later on in December, Stoichkov was awarded the FIFA Ballon D'or trophy for his great skill and leadership, becoming the first Bulgarian and third Barcelona Player to win it in history. Starting 11: GK-Mihaylov(c); RB-Kiryakov/Kremenliev, CB/SW-Hubchev, CB-Ivanov, LB-Tsvetanov; DM-Yankov, CM-Lechkov, CM-Balakov, AM/CF-Sirakov/Borimirov; CF/RW-Kostadinov, CF/LW-Stoichkov.

1996 Euro Cup: Controversial Quarter-final Call

In 1996, the team qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time, after some great results in the qualifying group, including a stunning 3–2 turn around win against future Euro 1996 champions Germany. They were drawn in Group B with France, Spain, and Romania. Bulgaria started with a 1–1 draw against the Spanish giants. Stoichkov scored his second goal with a wonderful volley but it would be controversially ruled off sides even though the cameras clearly revealed it was not. After their unfair draw with Spain, Bulgaria went on to a 1–0 decisive win over rivals Romania. Stoichkov scored in the 3rd minute adding to his goal list once again. In the final group match, the Bulgarian side lost 3–1 against France, Stoichkov scored an amazing free kick to give Bulgaria their only goal of the game along with their only loss. At the same time, Spain defeated Romania 2–1 with the winner coming in the 84th minute, and the Bulgarians were subsequently robbed of the quarter-final round.

1998 World Cup: The Last Stand of the "Golden Team"

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in France by finishing first in the Group 5, with decisive wins over power house Russia. They entered the competition with a new manager Hristo Bonev. Bulgaria drew Spain, Nigeria, and Paraguay in Group D. The first match ended decently, in a 0–0 goalless draw against eventual group winners, Paraguay. In the second match, the Bulgarians lost 1–0 for a second-straight World Cup to Nigeria. The final match ended with a disappointing 6–1 defeat to Spain, even though two Bulgarian off sides goals were ruled out, possibly making the score 6-3. Following the bad results, Bulgaria finished fourth in the group, with only one point, and could not manage to repeat their success they had at the previous world cup. This was the last major appearance at the world cup level for Bulgaria.

The 2000s: Playoffs and Close Calls

2000 Euro Cup Qualification: The End of a Legendary Era

Bulgaria was drawn in a tough qualifying group with teams England, Sweden, and Poland. The campaign started slow with a draw and a defeat by Poland and Sweden. The most memorable match for Bulgaria in the group was the 1–1 draw against England, which was also the last match for Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov before his international retirement. Bulgaria finished third with eight points and failed to make the final stages of Euro 2000.

Berbatov's Era

2002 World Cup Qualification: Beginning of the World Cup Drought

Bulgaria was once again drawn into a tough group with Denmarkand Czech Republic. The group was also the debut of Bulgaria's top scoring legend Dimitar Berbatov. Bulgaria won the matches against the weaker teams, but lost once and drew once with both Denmark and the Czech Republic. Bulgaria finished third with 17 points, three points behind second-placed Czech Republic, thus failing to make the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

2004 Euro Cup

Berbatov training with Bulgaria Right Before Euro 2004 Bulgarian national football team training.jpg
Berbatov training with Bulgaria Right Before Euro 2004

Bulgaria managed to qualify for the Euro 2004 in Portugal by finishing first along with racking up major wins over Croatia and Belgium. They drew Sweden, Italy, and Denmark in Group C. They started off very slow with disappointing defeat to Sweden, followed by a 2–0 defeat to Denmark. The last match against Italy was a reasonable 2–1 defeat. The match was looking to end 1–1 after goals from Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov and Simone Perrotta, but a last minute goal by Antonio Cassano gave the Italians the win. They finished fourth with zero points and were sent home without reaching the knockout round.

2006 World Cup Qualification: Surprising Failure

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germany after a run of poor results,they started off well with wins over Hungary and other weaker teams. They tied with Sweden and Croatia the first run but lost the other meetings to the two sides. Although Berbatov scored many key goals in the qualifiers including a last minute eqaulizer against Croatia, Bulgaria still finished third in Group Eight with 15 points.

2006 Kirin Cup

Although not making it to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Bulgaria found themselves in a minor tournament in Japan. Known as the Kirin Cup, Bulgaria entered for the first time. They started off well with a 2-1 victory over the hosts, Japan. Later on though, things went downhill as they lost 5-1 to Scotland, the eventual cup champions. Bulgaria finished as the Runners-Up and received the silver medal.

2008 Euro Cup Qualification: Euro Cup Near Miss

Group G had Netherlands, Romania, and Bulgaria as the main contestants for a qualifying spot for the Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria. Bulgaria performed well after a run of good results against Romania which gave them the first place. Bulgaria went on to the playoffs but drew the first match 1-1 along with losing their second match 2-0. The Bulgarians were robbed of their 4th Euro Cup appearance and finished with 25 points with only one loss.

2010 World Cup Qualification: Close Call

Bulgaria National Football Team in 2010 Bulgaria national football team 2010.JPG
Bulgaria National Football Team in 2010

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and Ireland in qualifying Group Eight. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws. After the unconvincing start, the manager Plamen Markov was replaced by Stanimir Stoilov in January 2009. The Bulgarians then recorded their first wins of the group over Cyprus, Montenegro and Georgia. They finished in third place with 14 points, therefore failing to qualify to a play-off spot.

2012 Euro Cup Qualification: Upset

The National Team in 2012 Bulgarian national football team.JPG
The National Team in 2012

Bulgaria were drawn in Group G along with England, Switzerland, Wales, and Montenegro. Bulgaria started off horribly with an opening away loss to England. They later on drew level with Switzerland along with defeating Wales and Montenegro. Sadly, Bulgaria finished in third behind Switzerland. This was the fourth time in the 2000s era Bulgaria had finished third in there qualifier group.

2014 World Cup Qualification: World Cup Near Miss

In the qualification phase for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Bulgaria were placed in Group B together with the teams of Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Armenia and Malta. Under the guidance of former player Lyuboslav Penev as head coach, Bulgaria enjoyed a revival and put up an incredible performance in many friendly matches before the start of the qualification stage, most notably a 2-1 victory over world cup 2010 runners-up Netherlands in Amsterdam. The qualifications started with a well-earned 2-2 draw against the Euro 2012 runners-up Italy. Bulgaria then edged a tight match against Armenia, which ended 1-0. Later on Bulgaria narrowly drew 1-1 against Denmark. Another good performance followed four days later, Bulgaria earning a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to the Czech Republic. As a result of these performances, the team climbed from 96th in the FIFA Ranking, their lowest position in history, to 40th in November 2012, earning FIFA best mover of the year. Nevertheless, Penev's players hosted and defeated Malta 6-0 under heavy snowfall. Four days later, Bulgaria once again set a draw with Denmark 1-1 in Copenhagen. This result left Bulgaria second in the group with 10 points and still undefeated. Bulgaria traveled to Italy, a game where they narrowly lost 1-0. Further on, the lions secured three more points with a 2-0 away win against Malta, leaving them hopeful of securing their second place in the group and a spot in the play-offs. However, after Bulgaria was defeated by Armenia 2-1 and the Czech Republic 1-0 at home, the dream of qualifying ended.

2016 Euro Cup Qualification: Continuation of the Drought

Bulgaria were placed in a group with Italy, Croatia, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Malta. Bulgaria opened up there first match with a 2-1 victory over Azerbaijan. They were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Croatia, following another tight 2-1 defeat to Norway. To add to the misery, Bulgaria drew with Malta 1-1 at home. This ultimately cost Head Coach Lyuboslav Penev his position, which was replaced by former Ludogorets Razgrad Coach Ivaylo Petev. On his debut match, Petev's squad drew Romania 0-0, this later led to a hard fought 2-2 draw with Italy, which Bulgaria led till the end of the match. When June came around, Bulgaria took down Malta 1-0 to edge 2 points ever closer to that third place playoff position. They later narrowly lost at the hands of Norway, Italy and Croatia. Their final resulted in a 2-0 decisive win over Azerbaijan but their chances of qualifying to the finals tournament sadly ended once again.

2018 World Cup Qualification: The Qualifying Group of Death

Bulgaria were drawn in a strong World Cup qualification group with the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Belarus and Luxembourg. They began with a hard-fought 4–3 win against Luxembourg at home. [3] This was followed by heavy losses to France (4–1) and Sweden (3–0). [4] [5] In November 2016, the Lions beat Belarus in Sofia 1–0, [6] and then put up one of their best performances in recent years, beating the Netherlands 2–0 to move into third place in the group. [7] Bulgaria then beat the group leaders Sweden 3–2 in Sofia to move one point behind their opponents in the table. [8] However, they lost the key match against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena 3–1. A 1–0 defeat at home to France and a 1–1 draw in Luxembourg ended their chances of qualifying. [9]

2020 Euro Cup Qualification: Nations League

Bulgaria were drawn in Euro Cup Nations League C qualifying group 3 with Norway, Slovenia and Cyprus. Bulgaria opened up the campaign well, with an impressive 2-1 win over Slovenia and an even more astounding 1-0 shutout win over Norway. The Norwegians eventually avenged their loss to Bulgaria, resulting in a tie for first place. Bulgaria eventually closed out the second round of games with two 1-1 draws against Slovenia and Cyprus. This ultimately resulted in finishing in second place and narrowly missing promotion to League B.

2020 Euro Cup Qualification: Regular qualifiers

Bulgaria was drawn in very tough group A with England, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Kosovo. The Lions began the qualifying campaign with 1-1 home draw against Montenegro and a 1-1 away draw to highly enthusiastic Kosovo while losing three of the best players due to injuries. [10]

Standings

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification Flag of England.svg Flag of Bulgaria.svg Flag of Kosovo.svg Flag of Montenegro.svg Flag of the Czech Republic.svg
1Flag of England.svg  England (X)2200101+96Qualify for final tournament 7 Sep 10 Sep 14 Nov 5–0
2Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 20202202 14 Oct 10 Jun 1–1 17 Nov
3Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo (X)10101101 17 Nov 1–1 14 Oct 7 Sep
4Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro 20112641 1–5 11 Oct 7 Jun 10 Sep
5Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 10010550 11 Oct 7 Jun 14 Nov 10 Jun
Updated to match(es) played on 25 March 2019. Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
(X) Assured of at least play-offs.

Team image

Traditionally the Bulgarian squad plays at home entirely in the colours of the Bulgarian tri-color. Their nickname is The Lions, in tribute of the lions represented in the coat of arms of Bulgaria.

National Stadium

The National Stadium Vassil levski national stadium.jpg
The National Stadium

Normally, the Bulgarian national football team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski National Stadium with a capacity of 45,000. Vasil Levski was officially opened in 1953 and reconstructed in 1966 and 2002. It is currently eligible to host UEFA Europa League final matches. It is the second largest stadium in Bulgaria just behind the Plovdiv Stadium with a capacity 55,000. During the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League, the stadium was used for the games of Levski Sofia with Barcelona, Chelsea, and Werder Bremen. It was also given three stars for its excellence in art construction of the stadium. The Bulgarian national football team's home matches and the Bulgarian Cup finals are held at the venue, as well as athletics competitions. The stadium also offers judo, artistic gymnastics, basketball, boxing, aerobics, fencing and table tennis halls, as well as a general physical training hall, two conference halls, and three restaurants.




Competition History

    Champions      Runners-Up      Semi-Finals      Other Top Results  

World Cup Record

FIFA World Cup Record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of Uruguay.svg 1930 Qualified-Withdrew0000000
Flag of Chile.svg 1962 Group Stage13th301217
Flag of England.svg 1966 Group Stage12th300318
Flag of Mexico.svg 1970 Group Stage12th301259
Flag of Germany.svg 1974 Group Stage11th302125
Flag of Mexico.svg 1986 Round of 1610th402226
Flag of the United States.svg 1994 Bronze medal world centered-2.svg Semi-Finals4th7502127
Flag of France.svg 1998 Group Stage22nd301217
Flag of Qatar.svg 2022 To Be Determined
Total7/222657152053

Euro Cup Record

UEFA Euro Cup Record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of Italy.svg 1968 Quarter-Finals5th540186
Flag of England.svg 1996 Group Stage9th311134
Flag of Portugal.svg 2004 Group Stage14th300319
Flag of Europe.svg 2020 To Be Determined
Total3/14105151619

Olympic Record

Olympic Record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of France.svg 1924 Round of 1612th100101
Flag of Finland.svg 1952 Round of 1613th100112
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 1956 Bronze medal.svg Semi-Finals3rd3201103
Flag of Italy.svg 1960 Group Stage8th321083
Flag of Mexico.svg 1968 Silver medal.svg Runners-Up2nd63211610
Flag of Japan.svg 2020 To Be Determined
Total5/23147343519

Balkan Cup Record

Balkan Cup Record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of Romania.svg 1930Group Stage4th62041019
Flag of Bulgaria.svg 1931 Gold medal with cup.svg Champions1st220083
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg 1932 Gold medal with cup.svg Champions1st330072
Flag of Romania.svg 1933 Bronze medal with cup.svg Semi-Finals3rd3102211
Flag of Greece.svg 1934Group Stage4th310278
Flag of Bulgaria.svg 1935 Silver medal with cup.svg Runners-Up2nd3210125
Flag of Romania.svg 1936 Silver medal with cup.svg Runners-Up2nd210268
Flag of Albania.svg 1946Group Stage4th201247
Flag of Hungary.svg 1947Group Stage4th4103514
Flag of Bulgaria.svg 1948 Gold medal with cup.svg Champions1st521267
Flag of Romania.svg 1976 Gold medal with cup.svg Champions1st420299
Flag of Turkey.svg 1980 Bronze medal with cup.svg Semi-Finals3rd411248
Total12/12411941980101

Honours

Recent Results

  Win  Draw  Loss

Ranking history

RankDate
Best Rank3June 1995
Current Rank48February 2019
Worst Rank96May 2012
Bulgaria national football team
As of 25 February 2019

Players

Current squad

The following players have been called up for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Montenegro and Kosovo, on 22 and 25 March 2019. [12]
All caps and goals as of 25 March 2019 after match against Kosovo.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
131 GK Nikolay Mihaylov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 30)350 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia
231 GK Blagoy Makendzhiev (1988-07-11) 11 July 1988 (age 30)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Dunav Ruse
11 GK Dimitar Evtimov (1993-09-07) 7 September 1993 (age 25)00 Flag of England.svg Accrington Stanley

52 DF Nikolay Bodurov (1986-05-30) 30 May 1986 (age 32)492 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia
32 DF Petar Zanev (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 33)390 Flag of Russia.svg Yenisey Krasnoyarsk
22 DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 28)240 Flag of Turkey.svg Kasımpaşa
152 DF Vasil Bozhikov (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 30)211 Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovan Bratislava
142 DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 25)90 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad
122 DF Valentin Antov (2000-11-09) 9 November 2000 (age 18)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia
42 DF Kamen Hadzhiev (1991-09-22) 22 September 1991 (age 27)00 Flag of Hungary.svg Puskás Akadémia

63 MF Simeon Slavchev (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 25)240 Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Qarabağ
83 MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 26)232 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Botev Plovdiv
73 MF Georgi Kostadinov (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 28)183 Flag of Russia.svg Arsenal Tula
223 MF Nikolay Dimitrov (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 31)91 Flag of Russia.svg Ural Yekaterinburg
183 MF Galin Ivanov (1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 31)51 Flag of Hungary.svg Haladás
203 MF Kristiyan Malinov (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 25)40 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia
113 MF Antonio Vutov (1996-06-06) 6 June 1996 (age 22)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Botev Plovdiv

104 FW Ivelin Popov (Captain) (1987-10-26) 26 October 1987 (age 31)8214 Flag of Russia.svg Rostov
94 FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 29)242 Flag of Poland.svg Pogoń Szczecin
194 FW Stanislav Kostov (1991-10-02) 2 October 1991 (age 27)30 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia
214 FW Radoslav Kirilov (1992-06-29) 29 June 1992 (age 26)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia
174 FW Martin Minchev (2001-04-22) 22 April 2001 (age 17)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cherno More Varna

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the Bulgarian squad within the last 12 months and are still available for selection.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 27)130 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019INJ
GK Georgi Petkov (1976-03-14) 14 March 1976 (age 43)180 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
GK Martin Lukov (1993-07-05) 5 July 1993 (age 25)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Lokomotiv Plovdiv v. Flag of Norway.svg  Norway , 9 September 2018

DF Ivan Bandalovski (1986-11-23) 23 November 1986 (age 32)190 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Beroe Stara Zagora v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
DF Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 23)80 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
DF Ivan Goranov (1992-06-10) 10 June 1992 (age 26)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia v. Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus , 16 November 2018INJ
DF Angel Lyaskov (1998-03-16) 16 March 1998 (age 21)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia v. Flag of Norway.svg  Norway , 9 September 2018

MF Ivaylo Chochev (1993-02-18) 18 February 1993 (age 26)183 Flag of Italy.svg Palermo v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019INJ
MF Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-23) 23 June 1997 (age 21)92 Flag of Denmark.svg Midtjylland v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
MF Martin Raynov (1992-04-25) 25 April 1992 (age 26)70 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 28)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Beroe Stara Zagora v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
MF Svetoslav Kovachev (1998-03-14) 14 March 1998 (age 21)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Dunav Ruse v. Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia , 19 November 2018
MF Georgi Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 27)412 Flag of Hungary.svg MOL Vidi v. Flag of Norway.svg  Norway , 16 October 2018
MF Borislav Tsonev (1995-04-29) 29 April 1995 (age 23)00 Flag of Croatia.svg Inter Zaprešić v. Flag of Norway.svg  Norway , 16 October 2018INJ

FW Radoslav Vasilev (1990-10-12) 12 October 1990 (age 28)61 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cherno More Varna v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019
FW Kiril Despodov (1996-11-11) 11 November 1996 (age 22)51 Flag of Italy.svg Cagliari v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019INJ
Notes

Coaching staff

Petar Hubchev, the current manager of the Bulgaria national football team. Petar Hubchev.jpg
Petar Hubchev, the current manager of the Bulgaria national football team.
RoleName
Head coach Flag of Bulgaria.svg Petar Hubchev
Assistant coach(es) Flag of Bulgaria.svg Georgi Donkov
Flag of Bulgaria.svg Flag of Germany.svg Levon Apkaryan
Goalkeeping coach Flag of Bulgaria.svg Flag of Armenia.svg Armen Ambartsumyan


Previous squads

Player records

Most goals

Dimitar Berbatov is Bulgaria's all-time top scorer with 48 goals. Berbatov 9.jpg
Dimitar Berbatov is Bulgaria's all-time top scorer with 48 goals.
#PlayerCareerGoalsCapsAverage
1 Dimitar Berbatov 1999–201048780.60
2 Hristo Bonev 1967–197948960.49
3 Hristo Stoichkov 1987–199937830.45
4 Emil Kostadinov 1988–199826700.37
5 Petar Zhekov 1963–197225440.57
6 Ivan Kolev 1950–196325750.33
7 Atanas Mihaylov 1970–198123450.51
8 Nasko Sirakov 1983–199623820.28
9 Dimitar Milanov 1948–195920390.51
10 Georgi Asparuhov 1962–197019500.38
11 Dinko Dermendzhiev 1966–197719580.33
12 Martin Petrov 1999–201319890.21

Most appearances

Stiliyan Petrov is Bulgaria's most capped player with 105 appearances Stiliyan Petrov.JPG
Stiliyan Petrov is Bulgaria's most capped player with 105 appearances
#PlayerCareerCapsGoalsAverage
1 Stiliyan Petrov 1998–201310580.08
2 Borislav Mihaylov 1983–199810200.00
3 Hristo Bonev 1967–197996480.49
4 Krasimir Balakov 1988–200392160.17
5 Dimitar Penev 1965–19749020.02
6 Martin Petrov 1999–201389190.21
7 Radostin Kishishev 1996–20098810.01
8 Hristo Stoichkov 1986–199984380.45
9 Nasko Sirakov 1983–199682230.28
10 Ivelin Popov 2007–82140.17
11 Ayan Sadakov 1981–19918090.11
12 Zlatko Yankov 1989–19998040.05




International match records

As of 25 March 2019 [13]

  Positive Record  Neutral Record  Negative Record

    Head coaches

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    References

    1. "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
    2. Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
    3. "FIFA-ranking yearly averages for Bulgaria". Fifa.com. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
    4. "Състав на България "А" за мачовете с Черна гора и Косово" [Bulgaria's "A" composition for matches with Montenegro and Kosovo] (in Bulgarian). Bulgarian Football Union. 11 March 2019.
    5. "World Football Elo Ratings: Bulgaria". Elo Ratings. Retrieved 9 September 2017.