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Bulgaria

Bulgaria
Hristo Stoichkov celebrates scoring Bulgaria's only winning goal at a UEFA European Championship ©Getty Images

Bulgaria

Best result: group stage 1996, 2004; quarter-finals 1968
Coach: Luboslav Penev
Leading scorers: all-time Dimitar Berbatov, Hristo Bonev – (48); current – Ivelin Popov (10)
Most appearances: all-time – Stiliyan Petrov (106); current – Ivelin Popov (47)
Association formed: 1923
Nickname: Lavovete (Lions)
Where they play: Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski, Sofia

Present at seven FIFA World Cups, including four in a row from 1962 to 1974, and two UEFA European Championships, Bulgaria have a history of success in international competition, although they have not qualified for a major tournament in the past decade. Their most memorable achievement came 20 years ago, when, inspired by the tournament's joint top scorer Hristo Stoichkov, they reached the semi-finals of USA '94, eliminating holders Germany en route. With record marksman Dimitar Berbatov retired from international football, the team made a decent fist of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup only to run out of steam at the end.

EURO pedigree
Matches played
Overall: P109 W47 D25 L37 F152 A121
Final tournament: P6 W1 D1 L4 F4 A13
Qualifying: P103 W46 D24 L33 F148 A108

Bulgaria have twice reached the group stage of a UEFA European Championship, although in 1968, when the finals consisted of only four nations, they went as far as the last eight. Those two final tournament appearances yielded just one win, 1-0 against Romania at EURO '96. Eight years later, at UEFA EURO 2004, Bulgaria suffered three defeats, including an opening 5-0 reverse in Lisbon against a Henrik-Larsson inspired Sweden.

Bulgaria were beaten just once in 12 matches during UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying, but their record was not good enough to achieve a top-two finish in a section won by Romania. The route to UEFA EURO 2012 started with Stanimir Stoilov being dismissed after two successive losses. Lothar Matthäus came in but lasted just a year. Wales' victory in Sofia against a side led by stand-in coach Mihail Madanski provided a suitably glum finale as the Lions finished four points adrift at the foot of the five-team pool.

Memorable EURO matches
13/06/96: Bulgaria 1-0 Romania, EURO '96
group stage
Stoichkov's third-minute strike in Newcastle gave Bulgaria their only finals win to date.

07/06/95: Bulgaria 3-2 Germany, EURO '96 qualifying
Two Stoichkov penalties and Kostadinov's 70th-minute winner completed an unforgettable comeback.

06/04/68: Bulgaria 3-2 Italy, 1968 UEFA European Championship quarter-finals
First-leg strikes from Nikola Kotkov, Dinko Dermendzhiev and Petar Zhekov earned victory against the eventual champions.

Did you know?
Bulgaria won their first six games of the EURO '96 qualifying campaign, a sequence that included a 3-2 home victory against Germany.

*Last updated on 07/01/2014

Last updated: 28/01/14 15.18CET

http://www.uefa.com/teamsandplayers/teams/teama/team=20/profile/index.html#bulgaria

Club record in UEFA competitions

  • Biggest win:
    11/06/1975, Bulgaria 5-0 Malta, Sofia
  • Biggest defeat:
    14/06/2004, Sweden 5-0 Bulgaria, Lisbon
  • Appearances in UEFA European Football Championship: 15
  • Player with most appearances: 35
    Stiliyan Petrov (BUL)
  • Top scorers: 15
    Hristo Stoichkov (BUL)
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