Bulgaria national football team

Last updated

Bulgaria
Coat of arms of Bulgaria (version by constitution).svg
Nickname(s) Лъвовете (The Lions)
Association Bulgarian Football Union
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Georgi Dermendzhiev
Captain Vacant
Most caps Stiliyan Petrov (105)
Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov
Hristo Bonev (48)
Home stadium Vasil Levski National Stadium
FIFA code BUL
Kit left arm bul18h.png
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Kit body bul18h.png
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Kit right arm bul18h.png
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Kit socks long.svg
First colours
Kit left arm bul18a.png
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body bul18a.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm bul18a.png
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Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 61 Increase2.svg 1 (24 October 2019) [1]
Highest3 (June 1995)
Lowest96 (August 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 65 Decrease2.svg 16 (19 November 2019) [2]
Highest3 (August 1975)
Lowest69 (12 November 2016)
First international
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 6–0 Bulgaria  Flag of Bulgaria.svg
(Vienna, Austria; 21 May 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 Spain (1931-1939).svg  Spain 13–0 Bulgaria  Flag of Bulgaria.svg
(Madrid, Spain; 21 May 1933)
World Cup
Appearances7 (first in 1962 )
Best resultFourth place (1994)
European Championship
Appearances2 (first in 1996 )
Best resultGroup stage (1996, 2004)
Olympic Games
Appearances5 (first in 1924 )
Best resultRunners-up (1968)
Balkan Cup
Appearances12 (first in 1930 )
Best resultChampions (1931, 1932, 1948, 1976)

The Bulgaria national football team (Bulgarian : Български национален отбор по футбол) represents Bulgaria in international football, and is administered by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA. The team's home venue is the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, and is currently managed by Georgi Dermendzhiev.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian is a South Slavic language spoken in Southeastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria. It is the language of Bulgarians.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Bulgarian Football Union association football governing body in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Football Union 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.

Contents

Their best achievements are reaching the final in the 1968 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1994. They have also competed at the Balkan Cup winning four titles. However, Bulgaria has failed to qualify for any major tournament since Euro 2004.

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.

Football at the Summer Olympics football competition

Football at the Summer Olympics, commonly known as football or soccer, has been included in every Summer Olympic Games as a men's competition sport, except 1896 and 1932. Women's football was added to the official program at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

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.

History

Early history

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 6–0 defeat against Austria. [3] Bulgaria also participated in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris a few days later.

Vienna Capital of Austria

Vienna is the national capital, largest city, and one of 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.

Austria national football team mens national association football team representing Austria

The Austria national football team is the 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.

1924 Summer Olympics games of the VIII Olympiad, celebrated in Paris, France in 1924

The 1924 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VIII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1924 in Paris, France.

Years of international wilderness

After being unable to compete in the 1930 World Cup, the Bulgarian side did not qualify for any major tournament for nearly 30 years, narrowly falling 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 team did manage to defeat many elite 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.

The Balkan Cup was an international association football competition contested on and off from 1929 to 1980 by countries from the Balkans region. The most successful team was Romania with 4 titles.

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.

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 an international association football tournament played in England between 11 and 30 July 1966. It was the eighth FIFA World Cup, the first having been played in 1930. England defeated West Germany 4–2 in the final to win their first World Cup; the match had finished at 2–2 after 90 minutes and went to extra time, when Geoff Hurst scored two goals to complete his hat-trick, the first and as of 2018 only to be scored in a World Cup final, with spectators storming the pitch during the fourth goal. England were the fifth nation to win the event, and the third host nation to win after Uruguay in 1930 and Italy in 1934. Brazil were the defending champions, but they failed to progress from the group stage.

1970 FIFA World Cup 1970 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1970 FIFA World Cup was the ninth FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship for men's national teams. Held from 31 May to 21 June in Mexico, it was the first World Cup tournament staged in North America, and the first held outside Europe and South America. Teams representing 75 nations from all six populated continents entered the competition, and its qualification rounds began in May 1968. Fourteen teams qualified from this process to join host nation Mexico and defending champions England in the 16-team final tournament. El Salvador, Israel and Morocco made their first appearances at the final stage.

Bulgaria took part in qualifiers for the European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with impressive wins over Norway, Sweden, and Portugal. Although they would go on to lose to the eventual champions and hosts Italy in a two-legged qualifying play-off.

UEFA European Championship European association football tournament for mens national teams

The UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the UEFA European Championship and informally as the Euros, 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 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 national football team represents Norway in international men's football and is controlled by the Norwegian Football Federation, the governing body for football in Norway. Norway's home ground is Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo and their head coach is Lars Lagerbäck. In February 2019, they were ranked by FIFA at No. 48.

Sweden national football team mens national association football team representing Sweden

The Sweden national football team represents Sweden in international football and is controlled by the Swedish Football Association, the governing body of football in Sweden. Sweden's home ground is Friends Arena in Solna 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.

Despite winning the Balkan Cup twice in 1931 and 1932, the Bulgaria national team added two more 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 elite opponents in England, powerhouse Argentina and Hungary. Bulgaria opened up their campaign with a narrow 0–1 loss to Argentina. Later on, Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 6–1 score to Hungary. Bulgaria’s hopes of qualifying were over, but the national team impressively drew with future 1966 World Cup champions England 0-0 and finished fourth in the group with only one point.

1966 World Cup

Bulgaria qualified for their second straight World Cup, drawn into an even tougher group compared to the previous World Cup. They were placed in the group of death with superpowers 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. In their second match Bulgaria loss 0-3 to Eusebio's Portugal. Finally, Bulgaria with no chance of advancing to the next round, finished their last match with a 1–3 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria once again finished fourth with zero points in the group.

Euro 1968 qualification

After their poor World Cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves. Bulgaria was drawn in a very tough group for qualifying, with Norway and Sweden, along with Eusebio's Portugal. Bulgaria started off with a 4–2 win over Norway. They would add to their winning streak with a 2–0 victory against Sweden. In their next two matches Bulgaria would draw 0-0 against Norway, and dominate Sweden 3-0. In their final two group fixtures Bulgaria played Portugal to a 1-0 victory at home and an 0-0 draw on the road, but it was enough to advance to the two-legged qualifying play-off. There Bulgaria were drawn against Euro 1968 host Italy. The hosts were defeated in the first leg 3–2, but won the second by a 0-2 score to advance 4–3 on aggregate. Italy would win the playoff and go on to win the tournament, while Bulgaria was eliminated from reaching the finals.

1968 Summer Olympics: Road to the final

A month and a half after the European Championship qualifying came the Olympics, which Bulgaria had qualified for the fifth time in their history. They were drawn in a simple group with Thailand, Guatemala and 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, held in Mexico, just like the 1968 Olympics. They were drawn in a very tricky group with Germany, Peru and Morocco. Bulgaria played their first match against Peru, losing 3–2. Germany won Bulgaria's second match, 5–2. The last group stage match ended 1–1; Bulgaria ended up in 3rd place.

1974 World Cup

The 1974 World Cup was held in West Germany. They were drawn in a decently tough group, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Uruguay. Bulgaria started off with a goalless draw with Sweden. They drew again, this time 1–1 with Uruguay. As the final match came, Bulgaria fell by a 4–1 score. Bulgaria remained in third place in the group stages.

1986 World Cup: The knockout rounds

Bulgaria qualified for the 1986 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. 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 won the Ballon D'Or, World and European Golden Boots in 1994. His incredible style of play led Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, along with leading Barcelona to their first ever UEFA Champions League in 1992. Stoichkov in 2016.jpg
Hristo Stoichkov won the Ballon D'Or, World and European Golden Boots in 1994. His incredible style of play led Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, along with leading Barcelona to their first ever UEFA Champions League 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. 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 3–0 defeat to Nigeria. Despite the bad start, the team made quite a huge statement by winning 4–0 against their Greece and increasing their goal difference. Their third and final match came against Argentina. The powerful Bulgarian side came away with a shocking 2–0 victory. Going into injury-time, Argentina was leading the group. 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 sixth 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 saved the first three penalty kicks in a row, breaking the World Cup record. Bulgaria won 3–1 on penalties. In the quarter-finals, Bulgaria faced the defending world champions Germany. At the start of the match held in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Bulgarians dominated impressively, hitting the post twice in the process. 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. 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 an Italian defender had clearly committed a handball in the box, off a Kostadinov cross.

Hristo Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot shared with Oleg Salenko as the top scorer in the tournament with his six goals. Krasimir Balakov was named in the 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.[ citation needed ]

Euro 1996: Controversial quarter-final call

In 1996, the team qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time. They were drawn in Group B with France, Spain, and Romania. Bulgaria started with a 1–1 draw against the Spain. Stoichkov scored his second goal with a wonderful volley, ruled offside. Bulgaria defeated Romania 1–0 in the next group stage match. Stoichkov scored in the third minute. In the final group match, the Bulgarian side lost 3–1 against France; Stoichkov scored a 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, and Bulgaria were eliminated.

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

Bulgaria qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France by finishing first in Group 5, with decisive wins over Russia. They entered the competition with new manager Hristo Bonev. Bulgaria drew Spain, Nigeria, and Paraguay in Group D. The first match ended decently, in a 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 6–1 defeat to Spain. Following the bad results, Bulgaria finished fourth in the group, with only one point. This was the last World Cup appearance for Bulgaria.

2000s

Euro 2000 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 Stoichkov before his international retirement. Bulgaria finished fourth 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 Denmark and 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.

Euro 2004

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

Bulgaria managed to qualify for the Euro 2004 in Portugal by finishing first with wins over Croatia and Belgium. They drew Sweden, Italy, and Denmark in Group C. All three group stage matches ended up in losses for Bulgaria.

2006 World Cup qualification: Failure

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germany after a run of poor results. They tied with Sweden and Croatia the first run but lost the other meetings to the two sides. Although Berbatov scored many goals in the qualifiers including a last-minute equalizer against Croatia, Bulgaria still finished third in qualifying with 15 points.

2006 Kirin Cup

Bulgaria found themselves in a minor tournament in Japan known as the Kirin Cup. They started off well with a 2–1 victory over the hosts Japan. However, Bulgaria lost 5–1 to Scotland, the eventual cup champions. Bulgaria finished as the runners-up and received the silver medal.

Euro 2008 qualification

Group G of Euro 2008 qualification had Netherlands, Romania, and Bulgaria attempting to qualify for Euro 2008, hosted by 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.

2010 World Cup qualification

Bulgaria in 2010 Bulgaria national football team 2010.JPG
Bulgaria in 2010

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and Ireland in qualifying in Group 8. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws. 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.

Euro 2012

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 finished in last place in the group.

2014 World Cup qualification

In the qualification phase for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, 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 some noteworthy performances in friendly matches before the start of the qualifying, including a 2–1 victory over 2010 World Cup runners-up Netherlands in Amsterdam. The qualifying began with a 2–2 draw against Euro 2012 runners-up Italy. Bulgaria then edged a tight match against Armenia, which ended 1–0. Next, Bulgaria drew 1–1 against Denmark. Four days later, Bulgaria earning a hard-fought 0–0 draw away to the Czech Republic. As a result, the team climbed from 96th in the FIFA World Rankings, their lowest position in history, to 40th in November 2012.

Penev's players hosted and defeated Malta 6–0 under heavy snowfall. Four days later, Bulgaria drew Denmark 1–1 in Copenhagen. This result left Bulgaria second in the group with 10 points, still undefeated. Bulgaria traveled to Italy, losing 1–0. After a series of poor results, Bulgaria ended up failing to qualify for Brazil 2014.

Euro 2016 qualification: Continuation of the drought

Bulgaria were placed in a group with Italy, Croatia, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Malta. Bulgaria opened up their first match with a 2–1 victory over Azerbaijan. They were defeated 1–0 by Croatia, following another 2–1 defeat to Norway. To make it worse, Bulgaria drew with Malta 1–1 at home, which would cause manager Lyuboslav Penev his position. He was replaced by Ludogorets Razgrad manager Ivaylo Petev.

On his debut match, Petev's squad drew Romania 0-0; this later led to a 2–2 draw with Italy, which Bulgaria led until a last-minute Italian equalizer. Bulgaria defeated Malta 1–0 to edge two points ever closer to the third place playoff position. After a series of losses, Bulgaria failed to qualify for Euro 2016 in France despite a 2–0 defeat of Azerbaijan.

2018 World Cup qualification

Bulgaria were drawn in a strong World Cup qualification group with the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Belarus and Luxembourg. They began with a 4–3 win against Luxembourg at home. [4] This was followed by heavy losses to France (4–1) and Sweden (3–0). [5] [6] In November 2016, the Lions beat Belarus in Sofia 1–0, [7] 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. [8] Bulgaria then beat the group leaders Sweden 3–2 in Sofia to move one point behind their opponents in the table. [9] However, they lost the 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. [10]

Euro 2020 qualification and Nations League: Play-Offs

Bulgaria were drawn in UEFA Nations League C with Norway, Slovenia and Cyprus. Bulgaria opened up the campaign with a 2–1 win over Slovenia and a clean sheet against 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, resulting in a second place finish.

Bulgaria was drawn in Group A with England, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Kosovo. The team began the qualifying campaign with a 1–1 home draw against Montenegro and a 1–1 away draw to Kosovo while losing three major players due to injuries. [11] They later carried on with two more losses which sparked the end of their group campaign. The national side, although, still has a high chance of qualifying to the 2020 Euros through the Nations League playoffs despite their 4th place position in Group A.

The four best teams in League C according to the overall ranking that have not qualified for UEFA Euro 2020 through the qualifying group stage will compete in the play-offs, with the winners qualifying for the final tournament. If there are fewer than four teams in League C that have not qualified, the remaining slots are allocated to the next best ranked team, in this case, Bulgaria goes through to the playoffs.

League C
RankTeam
25 GWFlag of Scotland.svg  Scotland [H]
26 GWFlag of Norway.svg  Norway
27 GWFlag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
28 GWFlag of Finland.svg  Finland
29Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria
30Flag of Israel.svg  Israel
31Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary [H]
32Flag of Romania.svg  Romania [H]
33Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
34Flag of Albania.svg  Albania
35Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro
36Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus
37Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia
38Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia
39Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania

Key

  1. GW Nations League group winner
  2. H UEFA Euro 2020 host
  3.      Team advanced to play-offs
  4.      Team qualified directly to final tournament

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.

Ultras and controversy

In recent years, ultras of the Bulgarian team have developed a reputation for racism. After racist chanting and monkey noises directed at Ashley Young, Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott during a qualifier for Euro 2012, the Bulgarian Football Union was fined €40,000 by UEFA. [12] The BFU denied that racism would be an issue during Euro 2020 qualifiers, claiming that the issue was worse in England. [13] Nevertheless, Bulgarian ultras were accused of racist chants during their matches against Czech Republic, Kosovo and England. As a result, part of the Bulgarian stadium was closed off for the match against England (October 2019), and officials twice halted the game under the UEFA anti-racism protocol. [14] In the following days since the match took place, Bulgarian police identified 15 fans they suspected were responsible for subjecting black English players including Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Tyrone Mings to racist abuse, arresting six of them. [15]

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin condemed the alleged abuse calling on the "football family and governments" to "wage war on the racists". [16] Disciplinary proceedings have been launched against both Bulgaria and England. [17]

Stadium

Vasil Levski National Stadium Vassil levski national stadium.jpg
Vasil Levski 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 the second largest stadium in Bulgaria, behind the Plovdiv Stadium with a capacity of 55,000. During the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League, the stadium was used for Levski Sofia matches with Barcelona, Chelsea, and Werder Bremen. The Bulgarian national team's home matches and the Bulgarian Cup finals are held at the venue, as well as athletics competitions.

Competitive record

    Champions      Runners-up      Third place      Fourth place  

FIFA World Cup record

FIFA World Cup record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of Uruguay.svg 1930 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 Semi-finals4th73131011
Flag of France.svg 1998 Group stage22nd301217
Flag of Qatar.svg 2022 To be determined
Total7/212638152253

UEFA European Championship record

UEFA Euro record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of England.svg 1996 Group stage9th311134
Flag of Portugal.svg 2004 Group stage14th300319
Flag of Europe.svg 2020 To be determined
Total2/15105151619

Olympic Games record

Olympic Games record
YearResultPositionPldWDLGFGA
Flag of France.svg 1924 Round of 1612th100101
Flag of Finland.svg 1952 Round of 1613th100112
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 1956 Semi-finals3rd3201103
Flag of Italy.svg 1960 Group stage8th321083
Flag of Mexico.svg 1968 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 1931Champions1st220083
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg 1932Champions1st330072
Flag of Romania.svg 1933Semi-finals3rd3102211
Flag of Greece.svg 1934Group stage4th310278
Flag of Bulgaria.svg 1935Runners-up2nd3210125
Flag of Romania.svg 1936Runners-up2nd210268
Flag of Albania.svg 1946Group stage4th201247
Flag of Hungary.svg 1947Group stage4th4103514
Flag of Bulgaria.svg 1948Champions1st521267
Flag of Romania.svg 1976Champions1st420299
Flag of Turkey.svg 1980Semi-finals3rd411248
Total12/12411941980101

Honours

Results and fixtures

  Win  Draw  Loss

Ranking history

RankDate
Best Rank3June 1995
Current Rank61October 2019
Worst Rank96May 2012
Bulgaria national football team
As of 15 October 2019

Players

Current squad

The following players have been called up for the matches against Paraguay and Czech Republic on 14 and 17 November 2019. [19]
Caps and goals as of 17 November 2019 after the match against Czech Republic.

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
131 GK Nikolay Mihaylov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 31)370 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia
231 GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 27)160 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad
11 GK Georgi Georgiev (1988-10-12) 12 October 1988 (age 31)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia

22 DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 29)290 Flag of Turkey.svg Kasımpaşa
152 DF Vasil Bozhikov (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 31)262 Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovan Bratislava
32 DF Petar Zanev (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 34)420 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia
212 DF Georgi Terziev (1992-04-18) 18 April 1992 (age 27)140 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad
42 DF Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 24)90 Flag of Romania.svg FCSB
52 DF Kristian Dimitrov (1997-02-27) 27 February 1997 (age 22)61 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Botev Plovdiv
242 DF Ivan Goranov (1992-06-10) 10 June 1992 (age 27)50 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia
202 DF Viktor Popov (2000-03-05) 5 March 2000 (age 19)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cherno More Varna

83 MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 26)272 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Botev Plovdiv
63 MF Simeon Slavchev (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 26)250 Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Qarabağ
73 MF Georgi Kostadinov (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 29)233 Flag of Russia.svg Arsenal Tula
123 MF Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-23) 23 June 1997 (age 22)142 Flag of Portugal.svg Gil Vicente
193 MF Marcelinho (1984-08-24) 24 August 1984 (age 35)112 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad
183 MF Galin Ivanov (1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 31)101 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia
163 MF Kristiyan Malinov (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 25)110 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia
93 MF Wanderson (1988-01-02) 2 January 1988 (age 31)60 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad
223 MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 29)40 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Beroe Stara Zagora
143 MF Dimitar Iliev (1988-09-25) 25 September 1988 (age 31)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Lokomotiv Plovdiv

104 FW Ivelin Popov (Captain) (1987-10-26) 26 October 1987 (age 32)9016 Flag of Russia.svg Rostov
114 FW Kiril Despodov (1996-11-11) 11 November 1996 (age 23)121 Flag of Austria.svg Sturm Graz
174 FW Ismail Isa (1989-06-26) 26 June 1989 (age 30)41 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 Hristo Ivanov (1982-04-06) 6 April 1982 (age 37)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Etar Veliko Tarnovo v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
GK Martin Lukov (1993-07-05) 5 July 1993 (age 26)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Lokomotiv Plovdiv v. Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland , 10 September 2019
GK Dimitar Evtimov (1993-09-07) 7 September 1993 (age 26)00 Flag of England.svg Accrington Stanley v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019
GK Blagoy Makendzhiev (1988-07-11) 11 July 1988 (age 31)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Dunav Ruse v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019

DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 26)140 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Ludogorets Razgrad v. Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay , 14 November 2019INJ
DF Georgi Pashov (1990-03-04) 4 March 1990 (age 29)30 Flag of Armenia.svg Ararat-Armenia v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
DF Kamen Hadzhiev (1991-09-22) 22 September 1991 (age 28)10 Flag of Hungary.svg Puskás Akadémia v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
DF Deyan Lozev (1993-10-26) 26 October 1993 (age 26)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Arda Kardzhali v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
DF Nikolay Bodurov (1986-05-30) 30 May 1986 (age 33)502 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia v. Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland , 10 September 2019
DF Ivan Bandalovski (1986-11-23) 23 November 1986 (age 32)190 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Beroe Stara Zagora v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
DF Viktor Genev (1988-10-27) 27 October 1988 (age 31)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Beroe Stara Zagora v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
DF Krum Stoyanov (1991-08-01) 1 August 1991 (age 28)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Etar Veliko Tarnovo v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
DF Ivan Turitsov U21 (1999-07-18) 18 July 1999 (age 20)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia v. Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic , 7 June 2019INJ
DF Valentin Antov U21 (2000-11-09) 9 November 2000 (age 19)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg CSKA Sofia v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019

MF Georgi Sarmov (1985-09-07) 7 September 1985 (age 34)150 Flag of Germany.svg Chemnitzer FC v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
MF Vasil Panayotov (1990-07-16) 16 July 1990 (age 29)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cherno More Varna v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
MF Georgi Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 27)422 Flag of Hungary.svg Fehérvár v. Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland , 10 September 2019
MF Nikolay Dimitrov (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 32)111 Flag of Russia.svg Ural Yekaterinburg v. Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland , 10 September 2019
MF Georgi Iliev (1981-09-05) 5 September 1981 (age 38)242 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Lokomotiv Plovdiv v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
MF Yanis Karabelyov (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 (age 23)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
MF Antonio Vutov (1996-06-06) 6 June 1996 (age 23)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Botev Plovdiv v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019
MF Ivaylo Chochev (1993-02-18) 18 February 1993 (age 26)183 Flag of Italy.svg Pescara v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019INJ

FW Bircent Karagaren (1992-12-06) 6 December 1992 (age 26)10 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Lokomotiv Plovdiv v. Flag of England.svg  England , 14 October 2019
FW Daniel Mladenov (1987-05-25) 25 May 1987 (age 32)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Etar Veliko Tarnovo v. Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland , 10 September 2019
FW Martin Minchev U21 (2001-04-22) 22 April 2001 (age 18)30 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cherno More Varna v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
FW Tsvetelin Chunchukov (1994-12-26) 26 December 1994 (age 24)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
FW Stanislav Ivanov U21 (1999-04-16) 16 April 1999 (age 20)00 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 10 June 2019
FW Stanislav Kostov (1991-10-02) 2 October 1991 (age 28)30 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia v. Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic , 7 June 2019INJ
FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 30)242 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Arda Kardzhali v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019
FW Radoslav Kirilov (1992-06-29) 29 June 1992 (age 27)20 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Slavia Sofia v. Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo , 25 March 2019
FW Radoslav Vasilev (1990-10-12) 12 October 1990 (age 29)61 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Arda Kardzhali v. Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro , 22 March 2019
Notes

Coaching staff

Georgi Dermendzhiev, manager of the Bulgaria national football team. 638-397-georgi-dermendzhiev.jpg
Georgi Dermendzhiev, manager of the Bulgaria national football team.
RoleName
Head coach Georgi Dermendzhiev
Assistant coach Nedelcho Matushev
Assistant coach Elin Topuzakov
Goalkeeping coach Lyubomir Sheytanov
Video analystMarin Slavchev

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 Ivelin Popov 2007–201990160.17
= Dimitar Penev 1965–19749020.02
7 Martin Petrov 1999–201389190.21
8 Radostin Kishishev 1996–20098810.01
9 Hristo Stoichkov 1986–199983370.45
10 Nasko Sirakov 1983–199682230.28
11 Ayan Sadakov 1981–19918090.11
= Zlatko Yankov 1989–19998040.05

International match records

As of 17 November 2019 after match against Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic [20]

  Positive Record  Neutral Record  Negative Record

  1. Includes matches against Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia .
  2. Includes matches against Flag of Germany.svg  West Germany .
  3. Includes matches against the Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union .
  4. Includes matches against Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia and Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg  Serbia and Montenegro .

Head coaches

See also

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