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The Bulgaria national football team is the national football team of Bulgariamarker and is controlled by the Bulgarian Football Union. Bulgaria's best World Cup performance was in the 1994 World Cup in USA, where they beat defending champions Germany to reach the semi-finals, losing to Italy, and finishing in fourth place after a defeat to Sweden in the third place play-off.


Bulgaria's first appearance in a World Cup was the 1962 World Cup in Chilemarker, but failed to progress to the knockout stages. The same happened in Englandmarker in 1966, Mexicomarker in 1970, and West Germanymarker in 1974. They progressed from the first round in Mexico 1986 but were beaten by the hosts in the round of 16.

60's and 70's

In the 60's and 70's Bulgaria qualified for four straight World Cup tournaments. In 1962 (their first time), 1966, 1970 and 1974, but without any successful performances. They also won the Balkan Cup in 1976 by beating Romania in the two legged final 1:0, 2:3. In the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexicomarker they won a silver medal. They finished first in group D by beating Thailand 7-0, Guatemala 2-1 and a 2-2 draw against Czechoslovakia. They passed the quarter finals by beating Israel and the semi finals by beating Olympic hosts Mexico. In the final they lost 1-4 to Hungary, giving the Bulgarians the silver Olympic medals. They also recorded their biggest win in history 10 days before the Olympics versus Ghana in a friendly match that ended 10-0.

World Cup 1986

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in Mexicomarker by finishing second in Group 4 behind France with 11 points but worse goal difference, ahead of the teams of Yugoslavia, East Germany and Luxembourg. This was their 5th World Cup appearance. They were drawn in Group A with Italy, Argentina and South Korea. In the opening match of the World Cup, the Bulgarians held the defending champions Italy to a 1-1 draw. Alessandro Altobelli gave the Italians the lead, but a 85th minute equalizer by Nasko Sirakov gave the Bulgarians the point. The next match was another 1-1 draw versus the team of South Korea with the goal for Bulgaria coming from Plamen Getov in the 11th minute. They lost the final match of the group 0-2 against Argentina (which won the World Cup that year). Despite not recording a win, the Bulgarians advanced to the knockout stage by being the 3rd best third placed team. That way Bulgaria and also Uruguay became the first nations to qualify for the knockout stage without winning a game in the first round. In the Round of 16 they faced World Cup hosts Mexico and lost the match 0-2. Ivan Vutsov was the manager of the team.

World Cup 1994

Certainly one of the most important dates in Bulgarian football history is November 17, 1993, when Emil Kostadinov scored two goals to beat France in Parismarker, allowing Bulgaria to qualify for the World Cup in the USAmarker in 1994. Under the management of Dimitar Penev, the Bulgarians, led by players like Hristo Stoichkov, Yordan Lechkov and Krasimir Balakov (along with a multitude of other talented players remembered in Bulgaria as the "Golden Generation"), made a strong impression by reaching the semi finals. They entered group D with Argentina, Nigeria and Greece. Before that the Bulgarians haven't won match in the World Cup competitions. The first match ended with a 0-3 defeat by Nigeria. Despite the bad start, the team won 4-0 against Greece and 2-0 against Argentina. Argentina had actually been winning the group going into injury-time, however a 91st minute strike from Nasko Sirakov meant that they dropped two places and finished 3rd. Bulgaria continued to the next round where they faced Mexico. The match ended 1-1 and after no goals were scored in the extra time, penalties would decide which team would go through. Team captain Borislav Mihaylov made a good performance saving the first 3 penalty kicks. Bulgaria won 3-1 on penalties with Mihaylov becoming the hero for the Bulgarian team. In the quarter-finals Bulgaria faced the then defending World Cup champions Germany. Lothar Matthaeus scored from a penalty, however the Bulgarians managed to turn the game over with two goals by Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Lechkov, giving them the 2-1 win and recording one of the most memorable wins for the team. Millions of Bulgarians celebrated this win in Sofiamarker and other Bulgarian cities. Having reached the semi-finals, this was the best Bulgarian performance in the World Cup. In the semi-finals they lost 1-2 to Italy and 0-4 to Sweden in the third place match. Hristo Stoichkov won the Golden Boot as a joint top scorer in the tournament with six goals (Russia's Oleg Salenko was the other winner). Krasimir Balakov was named in the all-star team along with Stoichkov.

Euro 1996

In 1996, the team qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time, after some good results in the qualifying group, including a 3-2 turnover win against future Euro 1996 champions Germany. They were drawn in group B with France, Spain and Romania. Bulgaria started with a 1-1 draw against Spain (a Stoichkov goal was disallowed), followed by a 1-0 win against Romania. In the final group match they suffered a 1-3 defeat by France. At the same time Spain defeated Romania 2-1 with the winner coming in the 84th minute and thus the Bulgarians were eliminated from the competition and sent home. Hristo Stoichkov was selected in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

World Cup 1998

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in Francemarker by finishing first in the group 5, followed by Russia. They entered the competition with a new manager Hristo Bonev, since Dimitar Penev was sacked after Euro 1996. Bulgaria drew Spain, Nigeria and Paraguay in group D. The first match ended in a 0-0 goalless draw against Paraguay. In the second match the Bulgarians lost 0-1 for a second straight World cup to Nigeria. The final match ended with a disappointing 1-6 defeat to Spain. Following the bad results, Bulgaria finished 4th in the group with only 1 point and didn't go through the next round despite the good form they were in. This was the last major international tournament that the first Bulgarian Golden Generation participated in.

Euro 2000

Bulgaria was drawn in a tough qualifying group with teams like England, Sweden and Poland. The campaign started bad with two defeats by Poland and Sweden. The most memorable match for Bulgaria in the group was the 1-1 draw against England, which was also the last one for Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov before his international retirement. Bulgaria finished 4th with 8 points and failed to make the Euro 2000.

World Cup 2002

Group 3 had Bulgaria, Denmark and Czech Republic amongst the main contenders for the qualifying spots. Bulgaria won the matches against the weaker teams, but lost 0-2 to Denmark and both matches with Czech Republic, including a disappointing 0-6 defeat. That way Bulgaria finished 3rd with 17 points and 3 points behind second placed Czech Republic and failed to make the World Cup in South Koreamarker and Japanmarker.

Euro 2004

Bulgaria managed to qualify for the Euro 2004 in Portugalmarker by finishing first in the group ahead of teams like Croatia and Belgium with 17 points and just one defeat. They drew Sweden, Italy and Denmark in group C. They started very disappointing with a 0-5 defeat by Sweden, followed by a 0-2 defeat by Denmark. The last match against Italy was 1-2 defeat. The match was ending 1-1 after goals from Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov and Simone Perrotta, but a last minute goal by Antonio Cassano gave the Italians the win. They finished 4th with no points and were sent home without reaching the knockout round. After the disappointing performance the manager Plamen Markov was sacked.

World Cup 2006

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germanymarker after a run of poor results, finishing third in group 8, behind Sweden and Croatia with 15 points.

Euro 2008

Group G had Netherlands, Romania and Bulgaria as the main contestants for a qualifying spot for the Euro 2008 in Switzerlandmarker and Austriamarker. Bulgaria performed good, but failed to qualify, after a run of good results from Romania that gave them the first place. The Bulgarians finished 3rd with 25 points, 1 point behind Romania and Netherlands with only one lost match against the Dutch.

World Cup 2010

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and Republic of Ireland in qualifying Group 8. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws in the 2010 qualifiers. After the unconvincing start, the manager Plamen Markov was sacked and replaced by Stanimir Stoilov in January 2009. The Bulgarians then recorded their first win in the group against Cyprus and also won against Montenegro and Georgia. They finished in third place in the group with 14 points, therefore failing to qualify directly or for a play-off place.


Vasil Levski, Bulgaria's current national football stadium
Normally, the Bulgarian national football team's home stadium is the "Vasil Levskimarker". It has a capacity of 43 632. Vasil Levski National Stadium was officially opened in 1953 and reconstructed in 1966 and 2002. It is currently eligible to host UEFA Cup final matches. During the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League the stadium was used for the games of FC Levski Sofia with FC Barcelona , Chelsea F.C. and Werder Bremen. The Bulgaria national football team's home matches and the Bulgarian Cup finals are held at the venue, as well as athletics competitions.

The stadium also offers judo, artistic gymnastics, basketball, boxing, aerobics, fencing and table tennis halls, as well as a general physical training hall, two conference halls and three restaurants.

Competitive record

World Cup record

Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA
1930 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1934 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1938 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1950 Did not enter - - - - - - -
1954 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1958 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1962 Round 1 15 3 0 1 2 1 7
1966 Round 1 15 3 0 0 3 1 8
1970 Round 1 13 3 0 1 2 5 9
1974 Round 1 12 3 0 2 1 2 5
1978 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1982 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1986 Round of 16 12 4 0 2 2 2 6
1990 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1994 Fourth place 4 7 4 0 3 13 12
1998 Round 1 29 3 0 1 2 1 7
2002 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2006 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2010 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total 7/19 26 4 7 15 25 54

European Championship record

Year Result Position GP W D* L GS GA
1960-1992 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
1996 Round 1 12 3 1 1 1 3 4
2000 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
2004 Round 1 16 3 0 0 3 1 9
2008 Did not qualify - - - - - - -
Total 2/13 6 1 1 4 4 13

2010 FIFA World Cup

Fixtures and results

The representatives of the six federations met in Sofia on 15 January 2008 to decide on a fixture calendar.


Current squad

Caps are correct as of 18 November 2009, following the completion of the match against Malta.


  • Called up, but will only take part in the match against Malta, due to pending issues pertaining to recovery from injury.

withdrew due to injury

suspended for the next game due to accumulated yellow cards

Recent callups

Previous squads

FIFA World Cup squads:

UEFA European Football Championship squads:

Player records

As of match played 18 November 2009. Players in bold are still currently playing for the national team.

Most appearances

# Name Career Caps Goals
1 Borislav Mihaylov 1983–1998 102 0
2 Hristo Bonev 1967–1979 96 47
3 Krasimir Balakov 1988–2003 92 16
4 Stiliyan Petrov 1998– 91 8
5 Dimitar Penev 1965–1974 90 2
6 Radostin Kishishev 1996– 88 1
7 Hristo Stoichkov 1986–1999 83 37
8 Nasko Sirakov 1983–1996 81 23
9 Zlatko Yankov 1989–1999 80 4
10 Ayan Sadakov 1981–1991 79 9

Most goals

# Player Career Goals Caps
1 Dimitar Berbatov 1999– 48 74
2 Hristo Bonev 1967–1979 47 96
3 Hristo Stoichkov 1987–1999 37 83
4 Emil Kostadinov 1988–1998 26 70
5 Petar Zhekov 1963–1972 25 44
6 Ivan Kolev 1950–1963 25 75
7 Nasko Sirakov 1983–1997 23 81
8 Dimitar Milanov 1948–1959 20 39
9 Georgi Asparuhov 1962–1970 19 50
9 Dinko Dermendzhiev 1966–1977 19 58
9 Martin Petrov 1999- 19 77


See also

External links


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