One of Bulgaria's greatest nights: Paris 1993

Petar Hubchev and Didier Deschamps met as players on a famous night for Bulgaria in November 1993 and will be in opposite dug-outs in Paris for Friday's European Qualifier.

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On Friday, Bulgaria return to a city where the national team enjoyed one of their most glorious nights nearly 23 years ago.

Bulgaria were in need of a miracle to reach the 1994 FIFA World Cup when they met France in Paris on 17 November 1993. Requiring victory and 1-0 down to an Eric Cantona goal, the visitors' fate looked bleak until Emil Kostadinov's equaliser before half-time.

Still they needed a second and, entering the final minute, David Ginola was in possession for the hosts. His cross was collected by Bulgaria right-back Emil Kremenliev, however, and the next ten seconds are forever etched in the memories of Bulgarian fans. Kostadinov scored a winner and Bulgaria went on to reach the semi-finals the following summer.

New Bulgaria coach Petar Hubchev and long-time Bleus incumbent Didier Deschamps were both playing that evening, and they will face each other again in Friday's Group A European Qualifier at the Stade de France.

Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov celebrates in Paris
Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov celebrates in Paris©Getty Images

"It is neither the time nor the place to make comparisons with 1993," said Hubchev. "Everything is different. The most important thing is to show no fear. Anything is possible in football and we must play with our heads held high. I am sure France will not underestimate us. I saw fire in the eyes of my players. There is hope, but I remain realistic."

Hubchev only took over a week ago after Ivaylo Petev left for Dinamo Zagreb.

"The timing of the change comes at the worst possible moment because of the very important qualifiers against France and Sweden [on Monday]," he said. "I don't write any game off, but I don't make promises either. I want the players to support each other and give their best on the pitch. They must understand it is an honour to wear the national shirt."

Bulgaria supporters seeking further positive omens should look no further than the late call-up of a midfielder going by the name of Kostadinov – Levski Sofia's Georgi.

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