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Bulgaria will take part in the finals for the second time following their presence at the 2008 edition in the Czech Republic. Aleksandar Dimitrov's side edged out Sweden by a point to win elite round Group 2 on home soil.
Previously in charge of the U17s, Dimitrov has been working with this set of players for almost four years, creating a strong team spirit and sense of togetherness. It is a squad not wanting for top-flight experience, with defender Stefan Velkov, 17, having established himself at PFC Slavia Sofia and earned a handful of U21 caps.
Attacking midfielder Antonio Vutov joined Udinese Calcio earlier this year after 28 A PFG appearances for PFC Levski Sofia, where twins Borislav and Radoslav Tsonev are regulars; the former, however, will miss the finals due to injury, a major blow for Bulgaria. Forwards Kiril Despodov and Georgi Minchev and midfielder Nikola Kolev are considered the next gems from the PFC Litex Lovech academy, whose alumni include senior internationals Georgi Milanov and Simeon Slavchev.
Key players: Antonio Vutov (midfielder, Udinese Calcio), Stefan Velkov (defender, PFC Slavia Sofia), Radoslav Tsonev (midfielder, PFC Levski Sofia), Nikola Kolev (midfielder, PFC Litex Lovech)
Coach: Aleksandar Dimitrov
Date of birth: 12/09/1976
Dimitrov was reared at PFC CSKA Sofia but did not gain top-flight experience until he joined PFC Belasitsa Petrich at the turn of the century. The 37-year-old has served as assistant coach of Indonesia, Bulgaria U21s and PFC Botev Plovdiv. In late 2010 he was appointed U17 coach, later stepping up to the U19s.
UEFA European Under-19 Championship best
Group stage: 2008
Honours in UEFA youth competitions
UEFA Junior Tournament (U18)
Winners: 1959, 1969, 1974
Runners-up: 1977, 1979
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