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Norway v Bulgaria background

Norway will look to work on improving their record against Bulgaria in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, starting with a first win against their Group H adversaries.

Preview: European qualifiers on 13 October ©AFP

Norway are on the lookout for their first home victory against Bulgaria, with the sides' UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group H encounter their fourth UEFA European Championship meeting in Oslo.

Match background
• Norway's record in 12 internationals against Bulgaria is W2 D4 L6 (W2 D2 L3 at home, W0 D2 L3 in Sofia). However, they won their only 21st-century encounter with Bulgaria 2-1, a 25 April 2001 friendly fixture in Oslo, Øyvind Leonhardsen (75 and 76) scoring twice to overturn Marian Hristov's first-minute opener.

• The sides first met in 1958 FIFA World Cup qualifying: Bulgaria won 2-1 in Oslo on 22 May 1957, then prevailed 7-0 the return leg in Sofia on 3 November that year. That is Norway's second-worst result in a World Cup match, following a 9-0 loss to the Netherlands in qualifying for the 1974 finals.

• The nations have been paired in three previous UEFA European Championship qualifying campaigns, with Norway yet to win in three home matches against Bulgaria (D1 L2).

• In 1968 qualifying, Dobromir Tashkov's Bulgaria beat Ragnar Larsen's Norway 4-2 in Oslo on 13 November 1966, Nikola Tzanev (18 and 43) and Petar Jekov (42 and 85) on target twice for the home side, while Kjetil Hasund scored both of Norway's goals (59 and 86). Wilhelm Kment's Norway held Bulgaria – then under the leadership of Stefan Bozhkov – to a 0-0 draw in the return fixture on 29 June 1967.

• Vasil Spesov's Bulgaria were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Norway in their first 1972 UEFA European Championship qualifier on 15 November 1970, Tor Fuglset (83) cancelling out Tsvetan Atanasov's 29th-minute opener to earn a point for Øivind Johannessen's visitors. Spasov's side won the away leg 4-1 on 9 June 1971, Hristo Bonev (26 and 42) striking twice either side of efforts from Petar Jekov (29) and Mladen Vasilev (37) to put Bulgaria 4-0 up at the break. Odd Iversen (80) – the father of another Norway striker, Steffen Iversen – struck back for the home side.

• The sides' most recent competitive meetings were in qualifying for the 1984 UEFA European Championship: Ivan Vutzov's Bulgaria were held 2-2 at home on 27 October 1982 – Boycho Velitchkov (13) put them ahead, but Hallvar Thoresen's penalty (17) and an Arne Økland strike (66) turned the tables before Plamen Nikolov (68) got it back to 2-2. However, Tor Røste Fossen's side were undone at home on 7 September 1983, Stoycho Mladenov (11) and Nasko Sirakov (51) on target after Åge Hareide had given Norway a fourth-minute lead.

• Bulgaria have had the better of the eight meetings between the nations at UEFA youth and age-limit levels: W4 D2 L2.

• The nations' clubs have met seven times in UEFA competition, with Bulgaria having the better of those encounters: W3 D3 L1 (W3 D1 L0 at home, W0 D2 L1 in Norway).

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