Bulgaria national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Лъвовете (The Lions)
Association Български футболен съюз – Bulgarian Football Union (БФС/BFU)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Head coach Petar Hubchev
Captain Ivelin Popov
Most caps Stiliyan Petrov (106)
Top scorer Dimitar Berbatov (48)
Home stadium Vasil Levski National Stadium
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 55 Increase 16 (6 April 2017)
Highest 3 (June 1995)
Lowest 96 (August 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 57 (29 March 2017)
Highest 2 (August 1975)
Lowest 40 (August 1955)
First international
 Bulgaria 0–0 Austria Austria
(Vienna, Austria; 21 May 1924)
Biggest win
Bulgaria Bulgaria 10–0 Ghana 
(Leon, Mexico; 14 October 1968)
Biggest defeat
 Bulgaria 1–8 Spain Spain
(Madrid, Spain; 21 May 1933)
World Cup
Appearances 8 (first in 1962)
Best result Semi-Finals: 1994
Euro Cup
Appearances 3 (first in 1968)
Best result Quarter-Finals: 1968
Appearances 5 (first in 1924)
Best result Runners-Up: 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: Български национален отбор по футбол) 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.


The Bulgaria national football team in 1924 Before a Match Against Austria

The beginning[edit]

The Bulgaria national team was founded in 1922. In 1923, the Bulgarian Football Union was established and the team's first match was held in Vienna on 21 May 1924, against Austria.[1][2]

Bulgaria was invited to participate in the 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay, but eventually rejected the invitation because the players were incapable of having an extended leave of absence from work.[3]

1930 to 1960[edit]

The Bulgarian team at this time could not progress in qualifying for any major tournaments from 1930 to 1960. They would end up finishing, on many occasions, in second or third place in their qualifying group and proceeding to the play-offs, but in the end, failing to qualify. Bulgaria, however, did defeat many strong teams in international games during those years. The only tournaments they were able to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they have won four times. They qualified for the World Cup for the second time in 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 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 the 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 in 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 qualified to their first international tournament, the 1962 world cup, and this would be the first time that they qualified, after not doing so for 32 years. Bulgaria was placed in a group alongside England, Argentina and Hungary. Bulgaria would open up their campaign with a narrow 0–1 loss to Argentina then would lose their second match 1–6 to Hungary. Mathematically eliminated from progressing to the next round, Bulgaria drew England 0–0 to finish fourth in the group with only one point.

1966 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria would qualify for their second World Cup in 1966. They were placed in a group, alongside Hungary, Portugal and a Pelé-led Brazil. Bulgaria would open their campaign match with a 0–2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free-kick goals by Pelé and Garrincha. Later on, Bulgaria would lose 0–3 to the Eusébio-led Portugal, then lost again to Hungary (1–3). They would finish fourth in their group zero points earned.

1968 Summer Olympics[edit]

A month-and-a-half after the Euro came the Olympics, which Bulgaria had qualified for the fifth time in their history. They were drawn in a group with Thailand, Guatemala and Czechoslovakia. Bulgaria began with a 7–0 win over Thailand. They would later go on and draw with Czechoslovakia 2–2. Their final match would determine if they would go on to the quarterfinals. Bulgaria defeated Guatemala 2–1 and win their first round Olympic group. They passed on to the Quarterfinals to face Israel. That game would remain 1–1 for most of the match until a drawing of lots determined who would go to the semi-finals of the tournament. Bulgaria won the draw and advanced to play Mexico. They won in overtime with a 3–2 victory. Bulgaria advanced to the finals for the first time in their Olympic history. They then suffered a 1–4 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria won the silver medal in the end.

1970 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for their third-straight World Cup in 1970, held in Mexico. They were drawn in a group with Western Germany, Peru, and Morocco. Playing their first match against Peru, Bulgaria were leading 2–0 until near the end when the Peruvians came back to win Peru 2–3. In the second match, Bulgaria would fall to West Germany 5–2, ensuring Bulgaria would need to defeat Morocco to progress to the next round. A 1–1 draw, however, resulted in a third-place group finish and elimination from the tournament.

1974 World Cup[edit]

Four years later, in Germany, Bulgaria would qualify for their fourth-straight World Cup. They were drawn in a group with the Netherlands, Sweden and 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 referee. Later on, Bulgaria tied with Uruguay 1–1. Bulgaria remained in contention; all they needed to do was tie against the Netherlands. As the final match came, Bulgaria fell by a 1–4 score. The Netherlands scored all the goals including an own goal for Bulgaria. Bulgaria remained in 3rd place in the group and did not move on to the next round.

The 1980s and 1990s[edit]

1986 World Cup[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[edit]

The retired jersey and Ballon D'or of Bulgarian football player Hristo Stoichkov. Considered Bulgaria's all-time Greatest Player, Stoichkov led his team to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals alongside winning the European Golden Boot.

On 17 November 1993, 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.[4] 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".[5] They entered Group D with Argentina, Nigeria and Greece.[6] 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.[7] Later, the team won 4–0 against World Cup-debuting Greece in Chicago[8] and 2–0 against Argentina in Dallas.[9] 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.[10] In their quarter-final match, again in New York City, Bulgaria faced defending World Cup champions Germany. Lothar Matthäus scored in a penalty kick. The Bulgarians, however, managed to turn the game over with two goals by Stoichkov and Yordan Lechkov, giving them a 2–1 win.[11] Millions of Bulgarians celebrated this win in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia and other Bulgarian cities. In their semi-final match again in New York, they lost 2–1 to Italy.[12] 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 semi-final match against Brazil had been held in the Rose Bowl.[13] Sweden beat Bulgaria 4–0, so the team finished the tournament in 4th place.[14] 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.[15] Later in December, Stoitchkov was awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or, becoming the first ever Bulgarian to win it.[16] Krasimir Balakov was named in the all-star team along with Stoichkov.

European Football Championship 1996[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. After losing against Spain, Bulgaria went on to a 1–0 win against Romania. Stoitchkov scoring in the third minute adding a second goal to the list. In the final group match, they lost 3–1 against France, Stoitchkov scoring from a free kick to give Bulgaria there only goal of the game. At the same time, Spain defeated Romania 2–1 with the winning goal coming in the 84th minute, and the Bulgarians subsequently failed to qualify for the quarter-finals.

1998 World Cup[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 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 offside 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[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.

New millennium[edit]

Berbatov training with Bulgaria Right Before Euro 2004

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

Bulgaria, Denmark, and Czech Republic were among the main contenders for the qualifying spots. This is also the debut of Bulgaria's top scoring player 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.

Euro 2004[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 off with a defeat by Sweden, followed by a 2–0 defeat by Denmark. The last match against Italy was a 2–1 defeat. Near the end of the match, the score was 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 began with a win over Hungary and "weaker" teams in the group. 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 equaliser against Croatia, Bulgaria 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, which Bulgaria entered for the first time. They started off well with a 2–1 victory over the hosts Japan. Later, they lost 5–1 to Scotland, the eventual champions of the Kirin Cup. Bulgaria became the Runners Up and received the silver medal.

2008 European qualification: 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 tenth minute and lose the second 2–0. Bulgaria failed to qualify to the competition, finishing with 25 points, after Romania and the Netherlands, with only one lost match against the Dutch.

2010 World Cup qualification: Close call[edit]

The Bulgaria National Football Team in 2010

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and the Republic of Ireland in qualifying Group Eight. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws in the 2010 qualifiers. 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 European 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. However, Bulgaria finished fifth in their group reaching their nadir in their football history, marking the fourth instance during 2000s that the nation had failed to finish in third (or better).

2014 World Cup Qualification[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 2–1 victory over 2010 World Cup runners-up Netherlands in Amsterdam. The qualifications started with a 2–2 draw against the Euro 2012 runners-up Italy. Bulgaria then defeated Armenia, which ended 1–0. Later on Bulgaria drew 1–1 against Denmark. Four days later, Bulgaria earned a 0–0 draw away against 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. 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 ten points and still undefeated. Bulgaria traveled to Italy, a game where they lost 1–0. Further on, the lions secured three more points with a 2–0 away win against Malta. After that Bulgaria was defeated by Armenia 2–1 and the Czech Republic 1–0 at home.

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

Bulgaria were placed in a group with Italy, Croatia, Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta.[17] Bulgaria opened up their first match with a 2–1 victory over Azerbaijan.[18] They were defeated 1–0 by Croatia,[19] which was followed by a 2–1 defeat to Norway.[20] Bulgaria then drew with Malta 1–1 at home,[21] but this cost Head Coach Lyuboslav Penev his position and he was replaced by former Ludogorets Razgrad Coach Ivaylo Petev.[22] In his debut match in February 2015, Petev's squad drew Romania 0–0 in a friendly,[23] 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.[24] In June, Bulgaria defeated Malta 1–0 to move within 2 points of the third place playoff position.[25] They then, however, lost their next three matches against Norway,[26] Italy[27] and Croatia[28] before winning their final match 2–0 over Azerbaijan, thus failing to qualify for the finals tournament.[29]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification Italy Croatia Norway Bulgaria Azerbaijan Malta
1  Italy 10 7 3 0 16 7 +9 24 Qualify for final tournament 1–1 2–1 1–0 2–1 1–0
2  Croatia[a] 10 6 3 1 20 5 +15 20 1–1 5–1 3–0 6–0 2–0
3  Norway 10 6 1 3 13 10 +3 19 Advance to play-offs 0–2 2–0 2–1 0–0 2–0
4  Bulgaria 10 3 2 5 9 12 −3 11 2–2 0–1 0–1 2–0 1–1
5  Azerbaijan 10 1 3 6 7 18 −11 6 1–3 0–0 0–1 1–2 2–0
6  Malta 10 0 2 8 3 16 −13 2 0–1 0–1 0–3 0–1 2–2
Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Qualification tiebreakers
  1. ^ Croatia were deducted one point after charges for racist behaviour in the match against Italy at Stadion Poljud. In addition, the Croatian Football Federation were ordered to play their next two home matches of UEFA competition behind closed doors and not to play any of its remaining qualifying games at Poljud. A fine of €100,000 was also imposed.[30] The Croatian Football Federation appealed against the decision and a hearing was scheduled for 17 September 2015. Croatia's appeal was rejected.[31]

2018 World Cup qualification[edit]

Bulgaria have been drawn in a World Cup qualification group with Netherlands, France and Sweden, 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. 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. In the beginning, Bulgaria earned a hard-fought 4-3 win against Luxembourg at home, a frustrating scoreline despite the victory.[32] It was followed by two heavy 1-4 and 0-3 losses to France and Sweden, respectively.[33][34] In November 2016, the Lions secured the three points against Belarus in Sofia with a narrow 1-0 win.[35] On Matchday 5, the Bulgarian team put up arguably its' best performance in recent years, beating the Netherlands 2-0, thus claiming the 3rd spot in the group.[36]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  France 5 4 1 0 10 3 +7 13 Qualification to 2018 FIFA World Cup 2–1 4–1 31 Aug 10 Oct 3 Sep
2  Sweden 5 3 1 1 10 3 +7 10 Possible second round[a] 9 Jun 3–0 1–1 4–0 7 Oct
3  Bulgaria 5 3 0 2 8 10 −2 9 7 Oct 31 Aug 2–0 1–0 4–3
4  Netherlands 5 2 1 2 8 6 +2 7 0–1 10 Oct 3 Sep 4–1 9 Jun
5  Belarus 5 0 2 3 2 10 −8 2 0–0 3 Sep 9 Jun 7 Oct 1–1
6  Luxembourg 5 0 1 4 6 12 −6 1 1–3 0–1 10 Oct 1–3 31 Aug
Updated to match(es) played on 25 March 2017. 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 Bulgarian squad plays at home entirely in the colours of the Bulgarian tricolore. Their nickname is The Lions, in tribute of the lions represented in the Bulgarian coat of arms.

Kit suppliers[edit]

Kit Provider Period
Bulgaria Tomy Sport 1922–1988
Germany adidas 1988–1996
Germany Puma 1996–2010
Italy Kappa 2010–2014
Spain Joma 2014–

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]

Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

The Bulgaria national football team's traditional home ground has been the multi-purpose Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia, which has a capacity of 45,000 people. The venue was officially opened in 1953 and was reconstructed in 1966 and 2002, with its most recent renovation dating back to 2015. A principle host of the Bulgarian Cup final match, the stadium was also used by Levski Sofia for their domestic group stage matches during the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League season. Ludogorets Razgrad also used the stadium for their Champions League campaigns in 2014 and 2016. The Bulgarian national football team's home matches have been held regularly at the venue since its reconstruction in 2002, as well as athletics competitions and major concerts. 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.

Competition History[edit]

     Champions       Runners-Up       Semi-Finals       Other Top Results  

World Cup Record[edit]

FIFA World Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay1930 Qualified-Withdrew 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1934-1958 Years of International Wilderness
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 Semi-Finals 4th 7 5 0 2 12 7
France 1998 Group Stage 22nd 3 0 1 2 1 7
Russia 2018 To Be Determined
Qatar 2022 To Be Determined
Total 7/22 26 5 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 9th 3 1 1 1 3 4
Portugal 2004 Group Stage 14th 3 0 0 3 1 9
Europe 2020 To Be Determined
Total 3/14 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 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 Champions 1st 5 2 1 2 6 7
Romania 1976 Champions 1st 4 2 0 2 9 9
Turkey 1980 Semi-Finals 3rd 4 1 1 2 4 8
Total 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 1 1
Euro Cup 0 0 0 0
Olympic Games 0 1 1 2
Balkan Cup 4 2 2 8
Total 4 3 4 11

Recent Results[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss

Ranking history[edit]

Rank Date
Best Rank 3 June 1995
Current Rank 55 April 2017
Worst Rank 96 May 2012


The following players were called up for the preliminary squad against Netherlands on March 25, 2017.
Caps and goals updated as of 25 March 2017 after the match against Netherlands.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
13 1GK Nikolay Mihaylov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 28) 32 0 Turkey Mersin İdmanyurdu
1 1GK Georgi Kitanov (1995-03-06) 6 March 1995 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
23 1GK Nikolay Krastev (1996-12-06) 6 December 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia

5 2DF Nikolay Bodurov (1986-05-30) 30 May 1986 (age 30) 36 1 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
3 2DF Petar Zanev (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 31) 28 0 Russia Amkar Perm
2 2DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 26) 11 0 Turkey Kasımpaşa
15 2DF Vasil Bozhikov (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 28) 6 0 Turkey Kasımpaşa
14 2DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 23) 3 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
4 2DF Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 21) 2 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
8 2DF Stefan Velkov (1996-12-12) 12 December 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia

11 3MF Stanislav Manolev (1985-12-16) 16 December 1985 (age 31) 46 4 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
20 3MF Aleksandar Tonev (1990-02-02) 2 February 1990 (age 27) 26 5 Italy Crotone
18 3MF Ivaylo Chochev (1993-02-18) 18 February 1993 (age 24) 11 1 Italy Palermo
6 3MF Simeon Slavchev (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 23) 10 0 Poland Lechia Gdańsk
7 3MF Georgi Kostadinov (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 26) 3 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia
22 3MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 26) 1 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna
12 3MF Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-23) 23 June 1997 (age 19) 1 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia
21 3MF Aleksandar Vasilev (1995-04-27) 27 April 1995 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
19 3MF Kiril Despodov (1996-08-11) 11 August 1996 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia

10 4FW Ivelin Popov (Captain) (1987-10-26) 26 October 1987 (age 29) 67 12 Russia Spartak Moscow
9 4FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 27) 14 2 Poland Pogoń Szczecin
16 4FW Andrey Galabinov (1988-11-13) 13 November 1988 (age 28) 6 2 Italy Novara

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 Vladislav StoyanovINJ (1987-06-08) 8 June 1987 (age 29) 19 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Netherlands, 15 March 2017PRE
GK Blagoy Makendzhiev (1988-07-11) 11 July 1988 (age 28) 0 0 Bulgaria Pirin Blagoevgrad v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
GK Bozhidar Mitrev (1987-03-31) 31 March 1987 (age 30) 9 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 25) 2 0 Romania Astra Giurgiu 2016 Kirin Cup Squad

DF Georgi Terziev (1992-04-18) 18 April 1992 (age 25) 9 0 Croatia Hajduk Split v.  Netherlands, 15 March 2017PRE
DF Aleksandar Aleksandrov (1986-04-13) 13 April 1986 (age 31) 16 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
DF Atanas Zehirov (1989-02-13) 13 February 1989 (age 28) 0 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
DF Daniel Zlatkov (1989-03-06) 6 March 1989 (age 28) 0 0 Belarus Shakhtyor Soligorsk v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
DF Radoslav Terziev (1994-08-06) 6 August 1994 (age 22) 0 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
DF Zhivko MilanovRET (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 29) 40 3 Russia Arsenal Tula v.  Luxembourg, 6 September 2016
DF Iliya Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 25) 6 0 Bulgaria Neftochimic Burgas 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 32) 6 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
DF Plamen Galabov INJ (1995-11-02) 2 November 1995 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia 2016 Kirin Cup Squad

MF Georgi MilanovINJ (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 25) 34 2 Russia CSKA Moscow v.  Netherlands, 15 March 2017
MF Nikolay Dimitrov (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 29) 7 0 Russia Ural Yekaterinburg v.  Netherlands, 15 March 2017PRE
MF Svetoslav Dyakov INJ (1984-05-31) 31 May 1984 (age 32) 35 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad v.  Netherlands, 15 March 2017PRE
MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 24) 11 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
MF Martin Raynov (1992-04-25) 25 April 1992 (age 25) 1 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
MF Milen Zhelev (1993-07-17) 17 July 1993 (age 23) 0 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Gorna Oryahovitsa v.  Belarus, 13 November 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 Russia Arsenal Tula v.  Sweden, 11 October 2016
MF Galin Ivanov (1988-03-15) 15 March 1988 (age 29) 1 0 Bulgaria Neftochimic Burgas 2016 Kirin Cup Squad
MF Stefan Velev (1989-05-02) 2 May 1989 (age 27) 5 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia 2016 Kirin Cup Squad

FW Preslav Yordanov (1989-07-21) 21 July 1989 (age 27) 1 0 Kazakhstan Ordabasy v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
FW Radoslav Kirilov (1992-06-29) 29 June 1992 (age 24) 1 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
FW Dimitar Rangelov (1983-02-09) 9 February 1983 (age 34) 40 6 Turkey Konyaspor v.  Belarus, 13 November 2016
FW Georgi Bozhilov (1987-02-12) 12 February 1987 (age 30) 2 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Luxembourg, 6 September 2016
FW Ventsislav Hristov (1988-11-09) 9 November 1988 (age 28) 8 1 Bulgaria Neftochimic Burgas 2016 Kirin Cup Squad

INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
PRE Preliminary squad.

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]