Bulgaria National Football Team
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Bulgaria National Football Team

Bulgaria
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)
Lavovete (The Lions)
AssociationBulgarian Football Union
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachGeorgi Dermendzhiev
CaptainPetar Zanev
Most capsStiliyan Petrov (105)
Top scorerDimitar Berbatov
Hristo Bonev (48)
Home stadiumVasil Levski National Stadium
FIFA codeBUL
FIFA ranking
Current 66 Decrease 6 (22 October 2020)[1]
Highest8 (June 1995)
Lowest96 (May 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 78 Decrease 13 (19 November 2020)[2]
Highest3 (August 1975)
Lowest82 (15 November 2020)
First international
 Austria 6-0 Bulgaria 
(Vienna, Austria; 21 May 1924)
Biggest win
 Bulgaria 10-0 Ghana 
(Leon, Mexico; 14 October 1968)
Biggest defeat
 Spain 13-0 Bulgaria 
(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, 1976)

The Bulgaria national football team (Bulgarian: ? , romanizedBalgarski natsionalen otbor po futbol) represents Bulgaria in men's 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.

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

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.

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.

1960s and 1970s: Rising to prominence

Bulgaria vs. Sweden 0 - 0, 1974 FIFA World Cup

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup for the first 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.

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.

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 Pelé at the helm. Bulgaria opened their campaign match with a 0-2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pelé 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 eventual Euro 1968 host Italy. Italy 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.

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. Instead of playing in the final, it became a third place play-off. Bulgaria lost against Sweden with 4-0, but fourth place still was Bulgarias best performance in history.

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.[]

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

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 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 qualification

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 cost 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. Despite finishing in fourth place, the national side had one more opportunity to qualify for the Euros thanks to the good performance in the Nations League. It sent Bulgaria to the Path A qualifying play-offs, which also included Hungary, Iceland and Romania.

The draw put Bulgaria against Hungary in their first play-off match on their quest to qualify for a major competition since 2004. However, in front of limited number of home fans, Bulgaria fell 1-3 to Hungary, and was eliminated from the tournament.[12][13]

2020-21 UEFA Nations League

After appointing their new head coach and brief promotion to League B, Bulgaria were drawn in Group 4 with Wales, Finland and Ireland. The first match was a near victory against Ireland until a 90th minute injury time equiliser sealed the draw for the Irish. Bulgaria would then play away to Wales nearly holding the hosts leveled until another 90th minute injury time goal would force the 0-1 loss. The problems would continue with another set of narrow losses to Finland and Wales, forcing Bulgaria to miss out on promotion to the top League A. Two more games without a win, against Finland and Ireland, meant the Lions were relegated to League C for the next season of the Nations League.


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Promotion or relegation
1  Wales (P) 6 5 1 0 7 1 +6 16 Promotion to League A
2  Finland 6 4 0 2 7 5 +2 12
3  Republic of Ireland 6 0 3 3 1 4 −3 3
4  Bulgaria (R) 6 0 2 4 2 7 −5 2 Relegation to League C
Source: UEFA
(P) Promoted; (R) Relegated.

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 EUR40,000 by UEFA.[14] The BFU denied that racism would be an issue during Euro 2020 qualifiers, claiming that the issue was worse in England.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin condemned the alleged abuse calling on the "football family and governments" to "wage war on the racists".[18] Disciplinary proceedings have been launched against both Bulgaria and England.[19]

Home stadium

Vasil Levski National Stadium

Normally, the Bulgarian national football team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski National Stadium with a capacity of 44,000. 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. Similarly, Ludogorets Razgrad used it as their main home venue for their European matches until the 2017-18 season. The Bulgarian national team's home matches and the Bulgarian Cup finals are held at the venue, as well as athletics competitions.

Competitive record

FIFA World Cup

  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 Did not enter Declined invitation
Italy 1934 Did not qualify 3 0 0 3 3 14
France 1938 2 0 1 1 1 7
Brazil 1950 Did not enter Declined participation
Switzerland 1954 Did not qualify 4 0 1 3 3 7
Sweden 1958 4 2 0 2 11 7
Chile 1962 Group stage 15th 3 0 1 2 1 7 Squad 5 4 0 1 7 4
England 1966 Group stage 15th 3 0 0 3 1 8 Squad 5 4 0 1 11 7
Mexico 1970 Group stage 13th 3 0 1 2 5 9 Squad 6 4 1 1 12 7
West Germany 1974 Group stage 12th 3 0 2 1 2 5 Squad 6 4 2 0 13 3
Argentina 1978 Did not qualify 4 1 2 1 5 6
Spain 1982 8 4 1 3 11 10
Mexico 1986 Round of 16 15th 4 0 2 2 2 6 Squad 8 5 1 2 13 5
Italy 1990 Did not qualify 6 1 1 4 6 8
United States 1994 Fourth place 4th 7 3 1 3 10 11 Squad 10 6 2 2 19 10
France 1998 Group stage 29th 3 0 1 2 1 7 Squad 8 6 0 2 18 9
South Korea Japan 2002 Did not qualify 10 5 2 3 14 15
Germany 2006 10 4 3 3 17 17
South Africa 2010 10 3 5 2 17 13
Brazil 2014 10 3 4 3 14 9
Russia 2018 10 4 1 5 14 19
Qatar 2022 To be determined To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026
Total Fourth place 7/21 26 3 8 15 22 53 -- 129 60 27 42 209 177
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

UEFA European Championship

UEFA European Championship record Qualifying record
Year Result Position Pld W D* L GF GA Squad Pld W D L GF GA
France 1960 Did not qualify 2 0 1 1 1 3
Spain 1964 2 1 0 1 2 3
Italy 1968 8 5 2 1 13 4
Belgium 1972 6 3 1 2 11 7
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976 6 2 2 2 12 7
Italy 1980 8 2 1 5 6 14
France 1984 6 2 1 3 7 8
West Germany 1988 8 4 2 2 12 6
Sweden 1992 8 3 3 2 15 8
England 1996 Group stage 11th 3 1 1 1 3 4 Squad 10 7 1 2 24 10
Belgium Netherlands 2000 Did not qualify 8 2 2 4 6 8
Portugal 2004 Group stage 16th 3 0 0 3 1 9 Squad 8 5 2 1 13 4
Austria Switzerland 2008 Did not qualify 12 7 4 1 18 7
Poland Ukraine 2012 8 1 2 5 3 13
France 2016 10 3 2 5 9 12
Europe 2020 9 1 3 5 7 20
Germany 2024 To be determined To be determined
Total Group stage 2/16 6 1 1 4 4 13 -- 119 48 29 42 159 134
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League record
Season** Division Group Pld W D* L GF GA P/R RK
Portugal 2018-19 C 3 6 3 2 1 7 5 Rise 29th
Italy 2020-21 B 4 6 0 2 4 2 7 Fall 31st
2022-23 C Future event
Total 12 3 4 5 9 12 29th
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Group stage played home and away. Flag shown represents host nation for the finals stage.

Olympic Games

Olympic Games record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad
United Kingdom 1908 Did not enter
Sweden 1912
Belgium 1920
France 1924 Round of 16 12th 1 0 0 1 0 1 Squad
Netherlands 1928 Did not enter
Nazi Germany 1936
United Kingdom 1948
Finland 1952 Round of 16 13th 1 0 0 1 1 2 Squad
Australia 1956 Bronze medal 3rd 3 2 0 1 10 3 Squad
Italy 1960 Group stage 5th 3 2 1 0 8 3 Squad
Japan 1964 Did not qualify
Mexico 1968 Silver medal 2nd 6 3 2 1 16 10 Squad
West Germany 1972 Did not qualify
Canada 1976
Soviet Union 1980
United States 1984
South Korea 1988
Spain 1992
United States 1996
Australia 2000
Greece 2004
China 2008
United Kingdom 2012
Brazil 2016
Japan 2020
Total 1 Silver medal 5/25 14 7 3 4 35 19 --

Balkan Cup

Balkan Cup record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Romania 1931 Fourth place 4th 6 2 0 4 10 19
Bulgaria 1931 Champions 1st 2 2 0 0 8 3
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1932 Champions 1st 3 3 0 0 7 2
Romania 1933 Third place 3rd 3 1 0 2 2 11
Greece 1935 Fourth place 4th 3 1 0 2 7 8
Bulgaria 1935 Runners-up 2nd 3 2 1 0 12 5
Romania 1936 Runners-up 2nd 2 1 0 1 6 8
Albania 1946 Fourth place 4th 3 0 1 2 4 7
Hungary 1947 Fourth place 4th 4 1 0 3 5 14
Bulgaria 1948* Group stage 3rd 5 2 1 2 6 7
Romania 1976 Champions 1st 4 2 0 2 10 9
Turkey 1980 Group stage 3rd 4 1 1 2 4 6
Total 3 Titles 12/12 42 18 4 20 81 99
*Competition abandoned with Bulgaria in third place.

All-time head-to-head record

As of 18 November 2020 after the match against  Republic of Ireland.[20]

  Positive Record   Neutral Record   Negative Record

  1. ^ Includes matches against  Czechoslovakia.
  2. ^ Includes matches against  West Germany.
  3. ^ Includes matches against  Soviet Union.
  4. ^ Includes matches against  Yugoslavia and  Serbia and Montenegro.

Results and fixtures

  Win   Draw   Loss

2020

26 February 2020 (2020-02-26) FriendlyBulgaria 0-1 BelarusSofia, Bulgaria
18:00
(17:00 UTC+2)
Report Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 250
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann (Malta)
3 September 2020 (2020-09-03) UEFA Nations LeagueBulgaria 1-1 Republic of IrelandSofia, Bulgaria
20:45
(21:45 UTC+3)
Report
Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 0[note 1]
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (Austria)
6 September 2020 (2020-09-06) UEFA Nations LeagueWales 1-0 BulgariaCardiff, Wales
15:00
(14:00 UTC+1)
Report Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium
Attendance: 0[note 1]
Referee: Fábio Veríssimo (Portugal)
8 October 2020 (2020-10-08) UEFA Euro 2020 PO SFBulgaria 1-3 HungarySofia, Bulgaria
20:45
(21:45 UTC+2)
Report
Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 1,929
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
11 October 2020 (2020-10-11) UEFA Nations LeagueFinland 2-0 BulgariaHelsinki, Finland
18:00
(19:00 UTC+3)
Report Stadium: Olympic Stadium
Attendance: 6,587
Referee: Erik Lambrechts (Belgium)
14 October 2020 (2020-10-14) UEFA Nations LeagueBulgaria 0-1 WalesSofia, Bulgaria
20:45
(21:45 UTC+3)
Report Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 478
Referee: Aliyar Aghayev (Azerbaijan)
11 November 2020 (2020-11-11) FriendlyBulgaria 3-0 GibraltarSofia, Bulgaria
19:00
(18:00 UTC+2)
Report Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Sebastian Col?escu (Romania)
15 November 2020 (2020-11-15) UEFA Nations LeagueBulgaria 1-2 FinlandSofia, Bulgaria
18:00
(19:00 UTC+2)
Report
Stadium: Vasil Levski National Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Donatas Rum?as (Lithuania)
18 November 2020 (2020-11-18) UEFA Nations LeagueRepublic of Ireland 0-0 BulgariaDublin, Republic of Ireland
20:45
(19:45 UTC±0)
Report Stadium: Aviva Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Lawrence Visser (Belgium)

Players

Current squad

The following players have been called up for the matches against Gibraltar on 11 November 2020, Finland on 18 November 2020 and Republic of Ireland on 18 November 2020.[23]
Caps and goals as of 18 November 2020 after the match against Republic of Ireland.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Martin Lukov (1993-07-05) 5 July 1993 (age 27) 4 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv
23 1GK Ivan Karadzhov (1989-07-12) 12 July 1989 (age 31) 0 0 Bulgaria Arda Kardzhali

2DF Petar Zanev (Captain) (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 35) 44 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
2 2DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 30) 34 0 Turkey Hatayspor
5 2DF Kristian Dimitrov (1997-02-27) 27 February 1997 (age 23) 12 1 Croatia Hajduk Split
6 2DF Cicinho (1988-12-26) 26 December 1988 (age 31) 5 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
4 2DF Aleksandar Vasilev (1995-04-27) 27 April 1995 (age 25) 1 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora
3 2DF Georgi Angelov (1990-11-12) 12 November 1990 (age 30) 1 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora
14 2DF Radoslav Terziev (1994-08-06) 6 August 1994 (age 26) 0 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia

16 3MF Kristiyan Malinov (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 26) 18 0 Belgium OH Leuven
18 3MF Galin Ivanov (1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 32) 16 1 Bulgaria CSKA 1948
22 3MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 30) 11 1 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora
17 3MF Bircent Karagaren (1992-12-06) 6 December 1992 (age 27) 7 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv
11 3MF Yanis Karabelyov (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 (age 24) 6 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia
21 3MF Svetoslav Kovachev (1998-03-14) 14 March 1998 (age 22) 4 0 Bulgaria Arda Kardzhali
7 3MF Dominik Yankov (2000-07-28) 28 July 2000 (age 20) 3 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
12 3MF Denislav Aleksandrov (1997-07-17) 17 July 1997 (age 23) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA 1948
8 3MF Serkan Yusein (1996-03-31) 31 March 1996 (age 24) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA 1948

9 4FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 31) 29 2 Bulgaria Arda Kardzhali
10 4FW Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-23) 23 June 1997 (age 23) 22 3 Denmark Midtjylland
20 4FW Dimitar Iliev (1988-09-25) 25 September 1988 (age 32) 6 2 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv
4FW Georgi Yomov (1997-07-06) 6 July 1997 (age 23) 4 2 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia

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. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Hristiyan Vasilev (1997-12-05) 5 December 1997 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Republic of Ireland, 18 November 2020 COVID
GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 28) 17 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 INJ
GK Nikolay Mihaylov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 32) 38 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 COVID
GK Georgi Georgiev (1988-10-12) 12 October 1988 (age 32) 5 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Wales, 14 October 2020 COVID
GK Daniel Naumov (1998-03-29) 29 March 1998 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA 1948 v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020

DF Vasil Bozhikov (3rd captain) (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 32) 30 2 Slovakia Slovan Bratislava v.  Republic of Ireland, 18 November 2020 COVID
DF Dimitar Velkovski (1995-01-22) 22 January 1995 (age 25) 3 0 Belgium Cercle Brugge v.  Republic of Ireland, 18 November 2020 COVID
DF Valentin Antov (2000-11-09) 9 November 2000 (age 20) 3 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Finland, 15 November 2020 U21
DF Viktor Popov (2000-03-05) 5 March 2000 (age 20) 3 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Finland, 15 November 2020 U21
DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 27) 19 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 COVID
DF Georgi Terziev (1992-04-18) 18 April 1992 (age 28) 16 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 COVID
DF Tsvetomir Panov (1989-04-17) 17 April 1989 (age 31) 1 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Wales, 14 October 2020
DF Ivan Goranov (1992-06-10) 10 June 1992 (age 28) 7 0 Belgium Charleroi v.  Wales, 6 September 2020
DF Plamen Galabov (1995-11-02) 2 November 1995 (age 25) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Wales, 6 September 2020
DF Stanislav Rabotov (2002-06-14) 14 June 2002 (age 18) 0 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Wales, 6 September 2020
DF Angel Lyaskov (1998-03-16) 16 March 1998 (age 22) 1 0 Slovenia Olimpija Ljubljana v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020
DF Ivan Turitsov (1999-07-18) 18 July 1999 (age 21) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020 COVID
DF Stefan Velkov (1996-12-12) 12 December 1996 (age 23) 1 0 Germany KFC Uerdingen v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020
DF Andrea Hristov (1999-03-01) 1 March 1999 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020

MF Martin Raynov (1992-04-25) 25 April 1992 (age 28) 7 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Finland, 15 November 2020 COVID
MF Georgi Kostadinov (vice captain) (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 30) 25 3 Russia Arsenal Tula v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 INJ
MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 27) 33 2 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 INJ
MF Filip Krastev (2001-10-15) 15 October 2001 (age 19) 1 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Wales, 14 October 2020
MF Borislav Tsonev (1995-04-29) 29 April 1995 (age 25) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Hungary, 8 October 2020 INJ
MF Georgi Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 28) 43 2 Unattached v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020
MF Aleksandar Tonev (1990-02-03) 3 February 1990 (age 30) 29 5 Unattached v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020

FW Zdravko Dimitrov (1998-08-24) 24 August 1998 (age 22) 1 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Finland, 15 November 2020 U21
FW Kiril Despodov (1996-11-11) 11 November 1996 (age 24) 15 1 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Gibraltar, 11 November 2020 INJ
FW Ismail Isa (1989-06-26) 26 June 1989 (age 31) 8 1 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Wales, 14 October 2020
FW Martin Minchev (2001-04-22) 22 April 2001 (age 19) 4 0 Czech Republic Sparta Prague v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020
FW Stanislav Ivanov (1999-04-16) 16 April 1999 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Belarus, 26 February 2020 INJ

INJ Player withdrew from the current squad due to injury.
COVID Player withdrew from the current squad due to testing positively for COVID-19 or having to self-isolate because of it.
U21 Not part of the squad due to U-21 call up.
PRE Preliminary squad.
RET Player had announced retirement from international football.
SUS Player is serving a suspension.
PRI Player absent due to private circumstances.

Coaching staff

Georgi Dermendzhiev, manager of the Bulgaria national football team.

Player records

Most goals

Dimitar Berbatov is Bulgaria's all-time top scorer with 48 goals.
# Player Career Goals Caps Average
1 Dimitar Berbatov 1999-2010 48 78 0.63
2 Hristo Bonev 1967-1979 48 96 0.49
3 Hristo Stoichkov 1987-1999 37 83 0.45
4 Emil Kostadinov 1988-1998 27 70 0.39
5 Petar Zhekov 1963-1972 25 44 0.57
6 Ivan Kolev 1950-1963 25 75 0.33
7 Nasko Sirakov 1983-1996 24 78 0.31
8 Atanas Mihaylov 1970-1981 23 45 0.51
9 Dimitar Milanov 1948-1959 20 39 0.51
10 Georgi Asparuhov 1962-1970 19 50 0.38
11 Dinko Dermendzhiev 1966-1977 19 58 0.33
12 Martin Petrov 1999-2013 19 89 0.21

Most appearances

Stiliyan Petrov is Bulgaria's most capped player with 105 appearances
# Player Career Caps Goals Average
1 Stiliyan Petrov 1998-2013 105 8 0.08
2 Borislav Mihaylov 1983-1998 102 0 0.00
3 Hristo Bonev 1967-1979 96 48 0.49
4 Krasimir Balakov 1988-2003 92 16 0.17
5 Ivelin Popov 2007-2019 90 16 0.17
Dimitar Penev 1965-1974 90 2 0.02
7 Martin Petrov 1999-2013 89 19 0.21
8 Radostin Kishishev 1996-2009 88 1 0.01
9 Hristo Stoichkov 1986-1999 83 37 0.45
10 Ayan Sadakov 1981-1991 80 9 0.11
Zlatko Yankov 1989-1999 80 4 0.05
12 Dimitar Berbatov 1999-2010 78 48 0.63
Nasko Sirakov 1983-1996 78 24 0.31

Head coaches

Ranking history

Rank Date
Best Rank 8 June 1995
Current Rank 66 October 2020
Worst Rank 96 May 2012
  • FIFA-ranking yearly averages for Bulgaria (1993-2020)[24]
As of 22 October 2020

Honours

This is a list of honours for the senior Bulgaria national team

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, all matches scheduled for September 2020 will be played behind closed doors.[21][22]

References

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 19 November 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "1924 friendly Austria v Bulgaria". worldfootball.net.
  4. ^ "Bulgaria-Luxembourg - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  5. ^ "France-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  6. ^ "Sweden-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  7. ^ "Bulgaria-Belarus - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  8. ^ "Bulgaria-Netherlands - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  9. ^ "Bulgaria-Sweden - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  10. ^ "Netherlands-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  11. ^ "Bulgaria-Montenegro - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  12. ^ "Bulgaria-Hungary - Euro 2020 Qualifying Play-off Semi-final". Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ https://armymedia.bg/archives/191684
  14. ^ Fifield, Dominic (18 November 2011). "Bulgaria fined by Uefa after racist chanting against England". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ Aarons, Ed (13 October 2019). "Bulgaria's Krasimir Balakov says English game has more of an issue with racism". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ "Bulgaria v England: Euro 2020 qualifier halted twice due to racist behaviour from fans". BBC News. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "Bulgaria v England: Police arrest six following racist abuse at Euro qualifier". 16 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Bulgaria v England: 'Football family' must 'wage war on the racists' says Uefa president". 15 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ "Bulgaria v England: 'Football family' must 'wage war on the racists' says Uefa president". 15 October 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ "World Football Elo Ratings: Bulgaria".
  21. ^ "UEFA meets general secretaries of member associations". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "UEFA Super Cup to test partial return of spectators". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 25 August 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ "Bulgaria squad for the games against Gibraltar, Finland and Republic of Ireland". Bulgarian Football Union. 2 November 2020.
  24. ^ "FIFA-ranking yearly averages for Bulgaria". FIFA.com.

External links


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