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Bulgaria down and out

Published: Saturday 19 June 2004, 0.49CET
Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov admitted that "Denmark deserved to win" after defeat in Braga confirmed their elimination.
by Alex O'Henley
from Braga

Match statistics


Goals scored0
Attempts on target1
Attempts off target4
Fouls committed19
Yellow cards7
Red cards1


Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:58 CET


P: Played   
Pts: Points   
Published: Saturday 19 June 2004, 0.49CET

Bulgaria down and out

Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov admitted that "Denmark deserved to win" after defeat in Braga confirmed their elimination.

Bulgaria took their leave of UEFA EURO 2004™ without scoring a goal and having seen captain Stilian Petrov sent off in a game which Denmark thoroughly deserved to win.

Opening loss
Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov had indicated beforehand that he would happily settle for an ugly win after being on the wrong end of a heavy 5-0 defeat by Sweden on Monday, but a victory in Braga never looked likely.

Packed midfield
Markov tried to stifle the threat posed by the Danes by playing five men in midfield with Dimitar Berbatov ploughing a lone furrow up front. It was a strategy designed to contain Denmark rather than take the game to them and from the first whistle Bulgaria looked a demoralised team who had lost the form and confidence that took them to Portugal as winners of their qualifying group.

Positive Denmark
Denmark on the other hand were positive from the outset with Dennis Rommedahl and Martin Jørgensen stretching the Bulgarian defence and sending a regular supply of crosses into the danger area. Given the chances they created in the first half the Danes should have been ahead much earlier than the 44th minute, and for a while it looked as though their profligacy in front of goal might cost them again.

Tomasson strikes again
But just before half-time Jon Dahl Tomasson - who scored both goals the last time these two countries met, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in 2001 - struck again to ease the Danish nerves. Jesper Grønkjær's goal in injury time was the icing on the cake, but the Danes should have had the game wrapped up long before then.

Gravesen control
It was a successful comeback for Thomas Gravesen, who was voted the Carlsberg Man of the Match. His authority in the Danish midfield was evident throughout and he supplied the clever through-pass that created the first goal. "The team played well in the first half," said Gravesen, who was suspended from Denmark's opening match. "It's easy to play well in a good team. We have room to improve and we need to score more goals."

Pole position
Denmark coach Morten Olsen said: "It's all about getting points and now we have four. We played a solid first half, but then failed to keep up the pace in the second half. The fact we had the opportunity to play Gravesen and Grønkjær was massive. We scored two wonderful goals and Jon Dahl Tomasson also deserves praise for the way he attacked and defended. It's all about scoring more goals than your opponents and we did that today."

Undeserved defeat
Markov felt his side's efforts were not reflected in the final scoreline and, had Martin Petrov made more of his opportunity at the end of the first half, the result might have been different. "We didn't deserve to lose by such a margin today," he said. "[But] Denmark deserved to win.

Danish quality
"We knew how good they were and their quality showed on the pitch today. I'm very sorry that Martin Petrov missed his chance, just as he did against Sweden. After Stilian Petrov was sent off our game completely fell apart. The reaction of the players after the sending-off was neither adequate nor professional."

Selection problems
Markov now has to reshape his side for the final game against Italy without the suspended Petrov and Rosen Kirilov - who picked up a second yellow card - and Ivailo Petkov who left the field injured at the end of the first half. Bulgaria will hope for better than they managed in Braga.

Last updated: 19/06/04 10.08CET