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Bulgaria v Italy background

Ivaylo Petev has a tough task ahead of him in his first competitive game as Bulgaria coach, with UEFA EURO 2016 Group H giants Italy coming to Sofia.

Preview: European qualifiers on 28 March ©Dinara Baikadamova

New Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev will look to breathe some life into his side's UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign as they take on high-flying Italy in Group H.

Previous meetings
• The teams have met 17 times in the past, with Italy's record in those fixtures reading W9 D6 L2. The most famous of those games was a 2-1 win for Italy in the semi-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Roberto Baggio striking twice at Giants Stadium in New Jersey before Hristo Stoichkov replied from the penalty spot.

• Their most recent encounters came in 2014 World Cup qualifying, Luboslav Penev's Bulgaria holding Cesare Prandelli's Italy to a 2-2 draw in Sofia but going down to Alberto Gilardino's goal in the return fixture.

Form guide
• Bulgaria have taken four points from their four Group H games, winning away against Azerbaijan in their opening fixture and – in their most recent contest – drawing 1-1 at home against Malta.

• Italy are unbeaten in Group H to date (W3 D1), having won both of their previous away encounters without conceding.

• Italy are unbeaten in 44 qualifying matches in all competitions (W33 D11) since a 3-1 loss to France on 6 September 2006.

Trivia and links
• This is Ivaylo Petev's first competitive game in charge since replacing Luboslav Penev as Bulgaria coach in December.

• Bulgaria duo Andrej Galabinov (AS Livorno Calcio) and Ivaylo Chochev (US Città di Palermo) both play club football in Italy.

• Italy's record in 14 games against Bulgaria in UEFA age-group competitions is W10 D2 L2.

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