Bulgaria national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Лъвовете (The Lions)
Association Bulgarian Football Union
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Petar Hubchev
Captain Svetoslav Dyakov
Most caps Stiliyan Petrov (105)
Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov (48)
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 89 Decrease 15 (20 October 2016)
Highest 3 [1] (August 1994)
Lowest 96 [1] (August 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 70 (12 October 2016)
Highest 7 [2] (August 1969)
Lowest 68 [3] (10 October 2015)
First international
 Bulgaria 0–6 Austria Austria
(Vienna, Austria; 21 May 1924)
Biggest win
Bulgaria Bulgaria 10–0 Ghana 
(Leon, Mexico; 14 October 1968)
Biggest defeat
 Spain 9–0 Bulgaria 
(Madrid, Spain; 21 May 1933)[4]
World Cup
Appearances 7 (First in 1962)
Best result Semi-Final: 1994[5]
European Championship
Appearances 2 (First in 1996)
Best result Quarter-Final: 1968
Olympic medal record
Men’s Football
Silver medal – second place 1968 Mexico City Team
Bronze medal – third place 1956 Melbourne Team

The Bulgaria national football team (Bulgarian: Национален отбор по футбол на България) is an association football team fielded by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA. The team's home stadium is Vasil Levski in Sofia and Petar Hubchev is the current national manager. Their best World Cup performance was in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where they beat defending champions Germany to reach the semi-finals, controversially losing to Italy. Although defeating strong top ranked teams in many international friendlies throughout the years, the team's strength has slowly diminished, failing to qualify for any major tournament since 2004.


Bulgaria's national football team roster in 1924

The beginning[edit]

The Bulgarian national football team was formed in 1922. In 1923 The Bulgarian Football Union was formed and the team's first match was held in Vienna on 21 May 1924, with a 6–0 defeat to Austria.[6][7]

Bulgaria was invited to the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, but declined participation because the players could not take such an extended leave from work.[8]

Years in international wilderness[edit]

The Bulgarian side, at this time, could not progress in qualifying to any major tournaments from the time of 1930 to 1960. This period of time was the international wilderness for Bulgaria. They would end up on many occasions getting 2nd or 3rd in their qualifying group and proceeding to the play offs, but in the end not able to qualify. Bulgaria although, did defeat many great teams in international friendlies during those years. The only tournaments they seemed to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they have won four times. Finally, their time came, when they qualified for the World Cup for the second time, in Chile, 1962.

1960s and 1970s[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1962 and followed that up with consecutive appearances in 1966, 1970 and 1974. The team, however, did not have much success and finished third in their group three out of the four times.

The team qualified for its first UEFA European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with wins over Norway (4–2), Sweden (3–0) and Portugal (1–0) before losing to eventual champion and host Italy in a two-legged quarterfinal. Bulgaria won the first leg 3–2, but lost the second by a 2–0 score to lose 4–3 on aggregate.

At the 1968 Summer Olympics, the team won the silver medal. They finished first in Group D by beating Thailand 7–0, Guatemala 2–1, and drawing 2–2 against Czechoslovakia. They advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Israel and the semifinals by beating host Mexico. In the final, the team was defeated by Hungary.

In 1976, the team won the Balkan Cup by beating Romania in the two-legged final 1–0 and 3–2.

1962 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria finally would qualify after a while to their second world cup, although this is the first one they would be competing in. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with tough opponents England, power machine Argentina and super power house Hungary. Bulgaria would open up their campaign with a narrow 0–1 loss to Argentina. Later on, misery would strike, as Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 1–6 score to Hungary. Bulgaria's hopes of qualifying were over, but with one world cup match left, they gave it a shot. They would end up drawing with England 0–0 and finish fourth in the group with only one point.

1966 World Cup[edit]

As 4 years passed, so did another chance of world cup success. Bulgaria would qualify for their second straight world cup. They were drawn into an even harder group than last world cup. They would end up in a group of death with super powers Hungary, Portugal and Brazil with Pele at the helm. Bulgaria would open their campaign match with a 0–2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pele and Garrincha. Later on Bulgaria would lose 0–3 to Eusebio and Portugal. Finally Bulgaria, once again with no chance of next round qualification, would finish their last match with a 1–3 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria would finish fourth with zero points in the group. This being Bulgaria's worst World Cup performance yet in their history.

1968 Euro Cup[edit]

After their poor world cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves somehow. So when the time finally came, they did. Bulgaria was drawn in a group with Scandinavian Giants Norway and Sweden along with King Eusebio and Portugal. Bulgaria started off very well with a 4–2 win over Norway. They would add to their winning streak with a 3–0 destruction of Sweden. There final match would determine who would win the group. Bulgaria were downed in the past world cup by Portugal 3–0, and they were determined not to happen again. When the game finally came, Bulgaria would defeat Portugal by a 1–0 score. This would seal Bulgaria as group winners and a shot at the two legged quarterfinal. When that time finally came Bulgaria would have to face Italy, the hosts. Bulgaria would start off well, with a 3–2 victory over the Italians. When the second match came, Bulgaria would fall 2–0, also causing them to lose in aggregate and getting eliminated from the tournament. Italy would go on to win the European Championship, and Bulgaria would get the 5th-place ranking, for being the only team in the tournament able to defeat the champions Italy, in a match.

1968 Summer Olympics[edit]

A month and a half after the European Championship came the Olympics, which Bulgaria had qualified for the 5th time in their history. They were drawn in a simple group with minnows Thailand, tough opponents Guatemala and giants Czechoslovakia. Bulgaria would start off with a 7–0 thrashing of Thailand. They would later go on and draw with Czechoslovakia 2–2 to increase their point standards. Their final match would determine if they would go on to the quarterfinals. As the time came Bulgaria would defeat Guatemala 2–1 and win their first round Olympic group. They would pass on to the Quarterfinals to face underdogs Israel. That game would remain 1–1 for most of the match until a drawing of lots would determine who would go to the semifinals of the tournament. Bulgaria would with the draw and advance to play Mexico. They would have a hard fought match, but overtime they would come out on top with a 3–2 victory. Bulgaria would advance to the finals for the first time in their Olympic history. They were determined to win the gold medal, but would fall short badly with a 1–4 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria worked hard but could only come out with a silver medal. It was a good performance but not enough for the final and most important game of the tournament.

1970 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for their third straight world cup. This time it was in Mexico just like the Olympics two years before it. Bulgaria was hoping for another great result like in the Olympics but this time in world cup standards. They were drawn in a medially tough group with power giants Germany, South American powers Peru and African underdogs Morocco. Bulgaria played their first match against Peru. They were leading the match 2–0 until near the end when the Peruvians woke up and began to score. Bulgaria would clumsily fall to Peru 2–3, and start their group in slow fashion. The second match didn’t change much for Bulgaria as they would fall to the giants Germany 5–2. Bulgaria still had a chance to qualify for the next round but they would need a win against Morocco to do that. When that time came Bulgaria would lead Morocco for most of the game until the 61st minute. Bulgaria would end up drawing with Morocco 1–1. They would finish the group in 3rd place but fall short of next round qualification.

1974 World Cup[edit]

Four years later, in Germany, Bulgaria would qualify for their fourth straight world cup. They were drawn in a decently tough group, with destroyers the Netherlands, up setters Sweden and shockers Uruguay. Bulgaria would start off with Sweden and after 90 minutes the game would remain goalless in a 0–0 draw. Although no goals, Bulgaria were down set from the disallowed goal they scored, that was ruled offside by the side ref. Later on though Bulgaria would tie with Uruguay 1–1 after a hard fought match. Bulgaria remained in good qualifying contention; all they needed to do was tie against the Netherlands. As the final match came, Bulgaria would fall by a 1–4 score. The ironic thing though was that Netherlands scored all the goals including an own goal for Bulgaria. Bulgaria would remain in 3rd place in the group and sadly fall short of the next round once again. The good thing was that this was their best performance at a world cup since 1930; with 2 draws and 1 loss. Though, their best performances were soon to come.

The 1980s and 1990s[edit]

1986 World Cup: The knockout rounds[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in Mexico by finishing second in Group Four, behind France with 11 points, but worse goal difference, ahead of the teams of Yugoslavia, East Germany, and Luxembourg. This was their fifth 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 an 85th minute equalizer by Nasko Sirakov gave the Bulgarians the point. The next match was another 1–1 draw against South Korea with the goal for Bulgaria coming from Plamen Getov in the 11th minute. They lost the final match of the group 2–0 against Argentina, who ended up winning the tournament. Despite not recording a win, the Bulgarians advanced to the knockout stage by being the third-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 2–0. Ivan Vutsov was the manager of the team.

1994 World Cup: Semi-final triumph[edit]

One of the most important dates in Bulgarian football history is 17 November 1993, when Emil Kostadinov scored two goals to beat France in Paris, thus allowing Bulgaria to qualify for the World Cup in the United States in 1994, and disallowing France to qualify for that tournament.[9] Under the management of Dimitar Penev, the team led by players such as Hristo Stoichkov, Yordan Lechkov, and Krasimir Balakov was referred to as the "Golden Generation".[10] They entered Group D with Argentina, Nigeria, and Greece.[11] Prior to 1994, the Bulgarians had not won a single match in the previous five World Cup finals appearances. The first match ended with a 3–0 defeat by Nigeria in Dallas.[12] Despite the bad start, the team won 4–0 against World Cup-debuting Greece in Chicago[13] and 2–0 against Argentina in Dallas.[14] Bulgaria continued to the next round, where they faced Mexico at Giants Stadium just outside New York City. The match ended 1–1 and after no goals were scored in extra time, penalties would decide which team would go through. Team captain Borislav Mihaylov saved two penalty kicks and Bulgaria won 3–1 on penalties.[15] In their quarter-final match again in New York City, Bulgaria faced the then-defending World Cup champions Germany. Lothar Matthäus scored from a penalty. The Bulgarians, however, managed to turn the game over with two goals by Hristo Stoichkov and Yordan Lechkov, giving them a 2–1 win.[16] Millions of Bulgarians celebrated this win in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia and other Bulgarian cities. Having reached the semi-finals, this was the best Bulgarian performance in the World Cup. In their semi-final match again in New York City, they lost 2–1 to Italy.[17] Bulgaria then traveled across the country and three time zones to the Pasadena Rose Bowl just outside Los Angeles to play Sweden, who did not have to travel because their and semi-final match against Brazil was held in the Rose Bowl.[18] Sweden beat Bulgaria 4–0, so the team finished the tournament in 4th place.[19] Hristo Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot (along with Russia's Oleg Salenko) for scoring six goals and finishing as joint top goal scorer of the tournament.[20] Later in December, Stoitchkov was awarded the FIFA Ballon D'or trophy becoming the first Bulgarian to win it in history.[21] Krasimir Balakov was named in the all-star team along with Stoichkov.

1996 Euro Cup: Group stage[edit]

In 1996, the team qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time, after some good results in the qualifying group, including a stunning 3–2 turnaround 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 the Spanish. They would score a second with a volley by Stoitchkov but it would be ruled offsides even though the cameras showed it clearly wasn't. After there rob of a win over Spain, Bulgaria went on to a 1–0 win against Romania. Stoitchkov scoring in the 3rd minute adding a second goal to the list. In the final group match, they lost 3–1 against France, Stoitchkov scoring from an freekick to give Bulgaria there only goal of the game. At the same time, Spain defeated Romania 2–1 with the winner coming in the 84th minute, and the Bulgarians subsequently failed to qualify and robbed of the quarter-finals.

1998 World Cup: The last stand of the "Golden Team"[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup in France by finishing first in the Group 5, followed by Russia. They entered the competition with a new manager Hristo Bonev. 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 1–0 for a second-straight World Cup to Nigeria. The final match ended with a disappointing 6–1 defeat to Spain, even though two offsides goals were ruled out. Following the bad results, Bulgaria finished fourth in the group, with only one point, and didn't go through the next round. This was the last major appearance at World Cup level for Bulgaria.

2000 Euro Cup qualification: The end of a legendary era[edit]

Bulgaria was drawn in a tough qualifying group with teams like England, Sweden, and Poland. The campaign started bad with a draw and a defeat 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 third with eight points and failed to make the final stages of Euro 2000.

Berbatov's Era[edit]

Berbatov training with the Bulgaria national football team

2002 World Cup qualification: Beginning of the World Cup drought[edit]

Bulgaria, Denmark, and Czech Republic amongst the main contenders for the qualifying spots. This is also the debut of Bulgaria's top scoring legend Dimitar Berbatov. Bulgaria won the matches against the weaker teams, but lost 2–0 to Denmark and one match with the Czech Republic. That way, Bulgaria finished third with 17 points and three points behind second-placed Czech Republic, thus failing to make the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

2004 Euro Cup[edit]

Bulgaria managed to qualify for the Euro 2004 in Portugal by finishing first in the group ahead of teams like Croatia and Belgium with 17 points. They drew Sweden, Italy, and Denmark in Group C. They started very disappointing with a defeat to Sweden, followed by a 2–0 defeat to Denmark. The last match against Italy was a reasonable 2–1 defeat. The match was looking to end 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 fourth with zero points and were sent home without reaching the knockout round.

2006 World Cup qualification: Failure[edit]

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germany after a run of poor results,they started off good with wins over Hungary and other weaker teams. They tied with Sweden and Croatia the first run but lost the other meetings to the two sides. Although Berbatov scored many key goals in the qualifier including a last minute eqaulizer against Croatia, Bulgaria still finished third in Group Eight, behind Sweden and Croatia with 15 points.

2006 Kirin Cup[edit]

Although not making it to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Bulgaria found themselves in a minor tournament in Japan. Known as the Kirin Cup, Bulgaria entered for the first time. They started off well with a 2–1 victory over the hosts Japan. Later on though, things went downhill as they lost 5–1 to Scotland, the eventual champions of the Kirin Cup. Bulgaria became the Runners Up and received the silver medal.

2008 Euro Cup qualification: Euro Cup near miss[edit]

Group G had Netherlands, Romania, and Bulgaria as the main contestants for a qualifying spot for the Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria. Bulgaria performed well after a run of good results from Romania that gave them the first place. Bulgaria would go on to the playoffs but draw the first match 1–1 with a goal by Petrov in the 10th minute and lose the second 2–0. The Bulgarians were robbed of a Euro and finished with 25 points, after Romania and Netherlands, with only one lost match against the Dutch.

2010 World Cup qualification: Close call[edit]

Bulgaria National Football Team in 2010.

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and Ireland in qualifying Group Eight. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws in the 2010 qualifiers. After the unconvincing start, the manager Plamen Markov was 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. Bulgarian top scorer Berbatov resigned from the national side after this result.[citation needed]

Era of Decline[edit]

2012 Euro Cup Qualification: Upset[edit]

The Bulgaria National Team in 2012

Bulgaria were drawn in Group G along with England, Switzerland, Wales, and Montenegro. Bulgaria started off horribly with an opening away loss to England. They later on drew level with Switzerland along with defeating Wales and Montenegro. Sadly, Bulgaria finished in fifth behind Switzerland&nbsp and all of the other teams;– marking the fourth instance during 2000s that the nation had failed to finish in third (or better).

2014 World Cup Qualification: World Cup near miss[edit]

In the qualification phase for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Bulgaria were placed in Group B together with the teams of Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Armenia and Malta. Under the guidance of former player Lyuboslav Penev as head coach, Bulgaria enjoyed a revival and put up an incredible performance in many friendly matches before the start of the qualification stage, most notably a 2–1 victory over world cup 2010 runners-up Netherlands in Amsterdam. The qualifications started with a well-earned 2–2 draw against the Euro 2012 runners-up Italy. Bulgaria then edged a tight match against Armenia, which ended 1–0. Later on Bulgaria narrowly drew 1–1 against Denmark. Another good performance followed four days later, Bulgaria earning a hard-fought 0–0 draw away to the Czech Republic. As a result of these performances, the team climbed from 96th in the FIFA Ranking, their lowest position in history, to 40th in November 2012, earning FIFA best mover of the year. Nevertheless, Penev's players hosted and defeated Malta 6–0 under heavy snowfall. Four days later, Bulgaria once again set a draw with Denmark 1–1 in Copenhagen. This result left Bulgaria second in the group with 10 points and still undefeated. Bulgaria traveled to Italy, a game where they narrowly lost 1–0. Further on, the lions secured three more points with a 2–0 away win against Malta, leaving them hopeful of securing their second place in the group and a spot in the play-offs. However, after Bulgaria was defeated by Armenia 2–1 and the Czech Republic 1–0 at home, the dream of qualifying ended.

2016 Euro Cup Qualification: Continuation of the drought[edit]

Bulgaria were placed in a group with Italy, Croatia, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Malta.[22] Bulgaria opened up their first match with a 2–1 victory over Azerbaijan.[23] They were defeated 1–0 by Croatia,[24] which was followed by a 2–1 defeat to Norway.[25] Bulgaria then drew with Malta 1–1 at home,[26] but this cost Head Coach Lyuboslav Penev his position and he was replaced by former Ludogorets Razgrad Coach Ivaylo Petev.[27] In his debut match in February 2015, Petev's squad drew Romania 0–0 in a friendly,[28] which was then followed at the end of March by a 2–2 qualifier match draw with Italy, a match which Bulgaria had led till the 84th minute.[29] In June, Bulgaria defeated Malta 1–0 to move within 2 points of the third place playoff position.[30] They then, however, lost their next three matches against Norway,[31] Italy[32] and Croatia[33] before winning their final match 2–0 over Azerbaijan, thus failing to qualify for the finals tournament.[34]

2018 World Cup qualification: The qualifying group of death[edit]

Bulgaria have been drawn in a tough world cup qualification group with powerhouses Netherlands, France, Sweden along with other members Belarus and Luxembourg. Bulgaria has already had a recent meeting with the Netherlands within the year 2013 in which Bulgaria came out on top with a 2–1 victory. Bulgaria has also had a 100 percent record history against Luxembourg while recently defeating Belarus 2–1 in a friendly in 2014. To add to this aspect, the last time Bulgaria was drawn within a world cup qualification group with Sweden and France was in 1994. Bulgaria drew level with Sweden once, and defeated France twice, decisively, to reach the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. where Bulgaria reached its all-time high of going to the Semi-Finals. Although placed with tough opponents, Bulgaria has luckily drawn Luxembourg at home for their first match in September. This will give them the brief opportunity to re-group hoping to earn an early victory. This can lead the team on to starting off their qualifying campaign on a very positive level at the top of the group while building momentum overtime for when the time comes to face the stronger and tougher opponents.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  France 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 11 Nov '16 31 Aug '17 4–1 10 Oct '17 3 Sep '17
1  Sweden 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7 Possible second round[a] 9 Jun '17 1–1 3–0 25 Mar '17 7 Oct '17
3  Netherlands 3 1 1 1 5 3 +2 4 0–1 10 Oct '17 3 Sep '17 4–1 9 Jun '17
4  Bulgaria 3 1 0 2 5 10 −5 3 7 Oct '17 31 Aug '17 25 Mar '17 13 Nov '16 4–3
5  Belarus 3 0 2 1 2 5 −3 2 0–0 3 Sep '17 7 Oct '17 9 Jun '17 1–1
6  Luxembourg 3 0 1 2 4 6 −2 1 25 Mar '17 0–1 13 Nov '16 10 Oct '17 31 Aug '17
Updated to match(es) played on 10 October 2016. Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
  1. ^ The eight best runners-up across all groups will advance to the second round (play-offs). The ninth-ranked runners-up will be eliminated.

Team image[edit]


Traditionally the squad of Bulgarian plays at home entirely in colours of the Bulgarian tricolore, with predominantly white. This explains the very commonly used nickname The Lions.

Kit suppliers[edit]

Kit Provider Period
Germany Adidas 1956–1996
Germany Puma 1996–2010
Italy Kappa 2010–2015
Spain Joma 2015–

Historical Kits[edit]

Throughout the football nation's sartorial history, the outfield players wore equipment with the following color patterns of white, green or red signifying the Bulgarian flag.

Home Kits
Away Kits

National stadium[edit]

The National Stadium

Normally, the Bulgarian national football team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski National Stadium with a capacity of 44,000. Vasil Levski was officially opened in 1953 and reconstructed in 1966 and 2002.It is currently eligible to host UEFA Europa League final matches. It is the second largest stadium in Bulgaria just behind the Plovdiv Stadium with a capacity 55,000. During the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League the stadium was used for the games of Levski Sofia and Ludogorets Razgrad in the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League. It was also given three stars for its excellence in art construction of the stadium. The Bulgarian 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. On November 4, 2011 it was announced that Bulgaria's new national stadium is going to be built in the Sofia suburb of Vrazhdebna, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Svilen Neykov, has announced. The new national stadium will be called "Arena of the Rose" and will be constructed near the International Airport where Vrazhdebna is located. It will have 60,000 seats and seen from above it will appear in the structure of a rose.

Competition history[edit]

     Champions       Runners-up       Third place      Fourth place       Other Top Results  

World Cup record[edit]

FIFA World Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay1930 Did not enter 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1934 to 1958 No Qualify
Chile 1962 Group Stage 13th 3 0 1 2 1 7
England 1966 Group Stage 12th 3 0 0 3 1 8
Mexico 1970 Group Stage 12th 3 0 1 2 5 9
West Germany 1974 Group Stage 11th 3 0 2 1 2 5
Mexico 1986 Round of 16 10th 4 0 2 2 2 6
United States 1994 Fourth Place 4th 7 3 1 3 10 11
France 1998 Group Stage 22nd 3 0 1 2 1 7
Russia 2018 To Be Determined
Qatar 2022 To Be Determined
Total Semi-Final 7/20 26 3 7 15 20 53

Euro Cup record[edit]

UEFA Euro Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Italy 1968 Quarter-Finals 5th 5 4 0 1 8 6
England 1996 Group Stage 11th 3 1 1 1 3 4
Portugal 2004 Group Stage 16th 3 0 0 3 1 9
Europe 2020 To Be Determined
Total Quarter-Final 2/15 10 5 1 5 16 19

Olympic record[edit]

Olympic Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
France 1924 Round of 16 12th 1 0 0 1 0 1
Finland 1952 Round of 16 13th 1 0 0 1 1 2
Australia 1956 Semi-Finals 3rd 3 2 0 1 10 3
Italy 1960 Group Stage 8th 3 2 1 0 8 3
Mexico 1968 Runners-Up 2nd 6 3 2 1 16 10
Japan 2020 To Be Determined
Total Runners-Up 5/23 14 7 3 4 35 19

Balkan Cup record[edit]

Balkan Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Romania 1930 Group stage 4th 6 2 0 4 10 19
Bulgaria 1931 Champions 1st 2 2 0 0 8 3
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1932 Champions 1st 3 3 0 0 7 2
Romania 1933 Semi-Finals 3rd 3 1 0 2 2 11
Greece 1934 Group Stage 4th 3 1 0 2 7 8
Bulgaria 1935 Runners-Up 2nd 3 2 1 0 12 5
Romania 1936 Runners-Up 2nd 2 1 0 2 6 8
Albania 1946 Group Stage 4th 2 0 1 2 4 7
Hungary 1947 Group Stage 4th 4 1 0 3 5 14
Bulgaria 1948 Competition abandoned - - - - - - -
Bulgaria 1976 Champions 1st 4 2 0 2 9 9
Turkey 1980 Semi-Finals 3rd 4 1 1 2 4 8
Total Champions 12/12 41 19 4 19 80 101


Competition 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) Total
World Cup 0 0 0 0
Euro Cup 0 0 0 0
Olympic Games 0 1 1 2
Balkan Cup 3 2 2 7
Total 3 3 3 9

Recent results[edit]

Ranking history[edit]

Rank Date
Best Rank 3 June 1995
Current Rank 69 June 2016
Worst Rank 96 May 2012


The following players are in the pre-limited squad for match against Belarus on 13 November.
Caps and goals updated as of 10 October 2016 after the match against Sweden.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Nikolay Mihaylov (1987-03-31) 31 March 1987 (age 29) 31 0 Turkey Mersin İdmanyurdu
1GK Vladislav Stoyanov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 28) 18 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
1GK Blagoy Makendzhiev (1988-07-11) 11 July 1988 (age 28) 0 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora
1GK Georgi Kitanov (1995-03-06) March 6, 1995 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia

2DF Petar Zanev (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 31) 26 0 Russia Amkar Perm
2DF Aleksandar Aleksandrov (1986-04-13) 13 April 1986 (age 30) 15 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia
2DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 26) 9 0 Turkey Kasımpaşa
2DF Georgi Terziev (1992-04-18) 18 April 1992 (age 24) 9 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
2DF Vasil Bozhikov (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 28) 4 0 Turkey Kasımpaşa
2DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 23) 2 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
2DF Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 21) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
2DF Atanas Zehirov (1989-02-13) 13 February 1989 (age 27) 0 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora
2DF Radoslav Terziev (1994-08-06) 6 August 1994 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv

3MF Svetoslav Dyakov (Captain) (1984-05-31) 31 May 1984 (age 32) 34 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
3MF Georgi Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 24) 33 2 Russia CSKA Moscow
3MF Aleksandar Tonev (1990-02-02) 2 February 1990 (age 26) 24 5 Italy Crotone
3MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 23) 11 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv
3MF Ivaylo Chochev (1993-02-18) 18 February 1993 (age 23) 10 1 Italy Palermo
3MF Simeon Slavchev (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 23) 8 0 Poland Lechia Gdańsk
3MF Georgi Kostadinov (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 26) 2 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia
3MF Martin Raynov (1992-04-25) 25 April 1992 (age 24) 1 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv
3MF Milen Zhelev (1993-07-17) July 17, 1993 (age 23) 0 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Gorna Oryahovitsa
3MF Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-27) June 27, 1997 (age 19) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia

4FW Ivelin Popov (1987-10-26) 26 October 1987 (age 29) 65 11 Russia Spartak Moscow
4FW Dimitar Rangelov (1983-02-09) 9 February 1983 (age 33) 40 6 Turkey Konyaspor
4FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 27) 12 0 Poland Pogoń Szczecin
4FW Andrey Galabinov (1988-11-27) 27 November 1988 (age 27) 6 2 Italy Novara
4FW Preslav Yordanov (1989-07-21) 21 July 1989 (age 27) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have also been called up to the Bulgarian squad within the last 12 months and are still available for selection.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Bozhidar Mitrev (1987-03-31) 31 March 1987 (age 29) 9 0 Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 24) 2 0 Romania Botoșani 2016 Kirin Cup Squad

DF Zhivko Milanov (1984-07-15) 15 July 1984 (age 32) 28 0 Cyprus APOEL v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
DF Dimitar Pirgov (1989-10-23) 23 October 1989 (age 27) 1 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
DF Yordan Minev INJ (1980-10-14) 14 October 1980 (age 36) 24 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  France, 7 October 2016
DF Ivan Ivanov (1988-02-25) 25 February 1988 (age 28) 40 3 Greece Panathinaikos v.  Luxembourg, 6 September 2016
DF Iliya Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 24) 6 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Luxembourg, 6 September 2016
DF Ventsislav Vasilev (1988-07-08) 8 July 1988 (age 28) 3 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
DF Ivo Ivanov (1985-03-11) 11 March 1985 (age 31) 6 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
DF Plamen Galabov INJ (1995-11-02) 2 November 1995 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
DF Nikolay Bodurov (1986-05-30) 30 May 1986 (age 30) 35 1 Unattached v.  Macedonia, 29 March 2016

MF Marcelinho (1984-08-24) 24 August 1984 (age 32) 7 2 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
MF Mihail Aleksandrov (1989-06-11) 11 June 1989 (age 27) 18 3 Poland Legia Warsaw v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
MF Galin Ivanov (1988-03-15) 15 March 1988 (age 28) 1 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
MF Stefan Velev (1989-05-02) 2 May 1989 (age 27) 5 0 Georgia (country) Dinamo Tbilisi 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
MF Borys Tashchy (1993-07-26) 26 July 1993 (age 23) 0 0 Germany VfB Stuttgart 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
MF Yanis Karabelyov (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Macedonia, 29 March 2016
MF Kristiyan Malinov (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 22) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Portugal, 25 March 2016

FW Georgi Bozhilov (1987-02-12) 12 February 1987 (age 29) 2 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Luxembourg, 6 September 2016
FW Ventsislav Hristov (1988-11-09) 9 November 1988 (age 27) 8 1 Bulgaria Neftochimic 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
FW Toni Tasev (1994-03-25) 25 March 1994 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria Pirin Blagoevgrad v.  Macedonia, 29 March 2016

Current technical staff[edit]

Head coach Bulgaria Petar Hubchev
Assistant coach Bulgaria Georgi Donkov
Assistant coach Bulgaria Levon Apkaryan
Goalkeepers coach Armenia Armen Ambartsumyan
BFU president Bulgaria Borislav Mikhailov
Team captain Bulgaria Svetoslav Dyakov

Previous squads[edit]

FIFA World Cup Squads
UEFA European Football Championship Squads
Summer Olympics Football Tournament Squads

Player records[edit]