Bulgaria

Preview

Although not favourites, Bulgaria were no doubt in the mix for progressing from Group 1 of the 1990 World Cup qualification. Bulgaria had last time qualified for the World Cup in 1986, when they had been eliminated in the 1/8 finals against hosts Mexico. Perhaps they had been a bit underwhelming in the tournament itself, but they had been very solid in the qualifiers that time around, and remained a feared opponent throughout Europe.

Also the qualification campaign for the 1988 Euros under Hristo Mladenov had been decent, when they only were denied a place in the Euros by a late goal in the last match. They then finished just behind the Republic of Ireland, ahead of nations like Belgium and Scotland. Despite this respectable effort, Mladenov resigned as manager and left the managerial position open for the 1990 qualification. U19 manager Boris Angelov was appointed as his successor in early 1988, and had led the team to some impressive results in the start of his reign, corroborating the Bulgarians’ reputation as a difficult opponent. Read more . . .

Previous World Cups: 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986

Manager: Boris Angelov

Results

Qualifier 1

Bulgaria
Kolev (32′)

1–3
(Report)

Romania
Mateuț (25′)
Cămătaru (79′, 88′)

19.10.1988
Vasil Levski, Sofia

Line-up (4-3-3): Borislav Mihaylov (c) – Plamen Nikolov, Zapryan Rakov, Nikolay Iliev, Dimitar Vasev (Iliyan Kiryakov 54) – Georgi Yordanov, Ayan Sadakov, Plamen Getov – Petar Aleksandrov (Hristo Kolev 31),  Lyubo Penev, Hristo Stoichkov. Unused subs: Iliya Valov, Pavel Dochev, Trifon Ivanov.
Bulgaria start their qualifiers with a home loss to a strong Romanian side. Angelov had gone out in an attacking 4-3-3 formation, but needed to make a tactical substitution already after 30 mins, bringing on midfielder Kolev for attacker Alexandrov. Bulgaria had to rely on free-kicks to produce any goal scoring opportunities. Playmaker Getov makes one of his rare appearances since the 1986 World Cup, but without much effect, Bulgaria’s few opening came through combinations down the left between Yordanov and Stoichkov.

Qualifier 2

Denmark
Elstrup (9′)

1–1
(Report)

Bulgaria
Sadkov (39′)

02.11.1988
Idrætsparken, Copenhagen

Line-up (5-3-2): Valov – Bezinski, Dochev, Iliev (c), Ivanov, Kiryakov – Kirov, Sadakov, Yordanov (Rakov 86) – Penev, Stoichkov (Balakov 89). Unused subs: Donev, Dimitrov, Aleksandrov.
Heroic, defensive battle secures one point for Bulgaria in Copenhagen. The Bulgarians do not have a lot to offer in the attacking department, but do just enough to draw. Angelov had reverted to 5-3-2 and successfully managed to close off the Danish midfield. The Danes had enough chances to score the winner, but the guests can take encouragement from this performance.

Int. friendly

United Arab Emirates

0–1

Bulgaria
Kostadinov (18′ or 26′)

24.12.1988
Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah

Line-up: Donev – Kiryakov, Dochev, Iliev, D. Mladenov, Bezinski (Ivanov h-t), Sadkov (Rakov 80′), Kirov (Balakov h-t) – Kostadinov, Penev (Yordanov 75′), Stoichkov.
Another friendly in the Persian gulf for Bulgaria, who had encountered UAE twice earlier in 1988. Vutzov fields his strongest XI, but it’s the only newcomer in the team, Emil Kostadinov (CFKA Sredets), who bags the goal. Rare appearance for Dimitar Mladenov, the Trakia Plovdiv defender. 5-3-2 formation?

Int. friendly

Bulgaria
Kostadinov (22′)

1–2
(Report)

Soviet Union
Borodyuk (34′)
Rats (55′)

21.02.1989
Vasil Levski, Sofia

Line-up (4-3-3): Valov – Bezinski, Dochev, Iliev (c), Kiryakov – Sadakov (Todorov 65), Ivanov, Balakov (Yordanov 62) – Kostadinov, Penev, Stoichkov.
Bulgaria gave a decent account of themselves after going ahead through a Kostadinov header midway through the first half. Game played at fine pace until a host of second half substitutions saw quality deteriorate.

Int. friendly

Bulgaria
Iliev (46′)

1–2
(Report)

West Germany
Völler (72′)
Littbarski (86′)

22.03.1989
Vasil Levski, Sofia

Line-up: Valov – Dimitrov, Dochev (Stoyanov 74), Ivanov, Bankov, Tinchev – Yanchev, Yordanov, K Balakov – Iskrenov (Kostadinov 52), Stoichkov.
Another loss, although against quality opposition. The most interesting thing with these two recent fixtures was the inclusion of Emil Kostadinov and Krasimir Balakov in the team. Both players were to be more involved in the qualification in 1989.

Qualifier 3

Bulgaria

0–2
(Report)

Denmark
Povlsen (40′)
B. Laudrup (90′)

26.04.1989
Vasil Levski, Sofia

Line-up (5-3-2): Valov (Donev 54) – Kiryakov, Rakov, Iliev (c), Dochev, Bezinski – Kirov, Getov, Sadakov (Simeonov h-t) – Mihtarski, Stoichkov.
Another home loss, this time against a regalvanized Denmark, means that Bulgaria already are out of contention for Italy’90.

Qualifier 4

Romania
Popescu (35′)

1–0
(Report)

Bulgaria

17.05.1989
Stadionul Steaua, Bucharest

Line-up (4-3-3): Valov (Donev h-t) – Dochev, D Mladenov, Ivanov, Vasev – M Bakalov, Tinchev, K Balakov – Kostadinov, S Mladenov (c), Stoichkov.
Deserved win for Romania, but Bulgaria were more competent in the attacking department than previously in these qualifiers, especially Kostadinov proved dangerous, and could even have grabbed an equaliser. An improved performance by Bulgaria, who perhaps perform better away from home. 

Int. friendly

East Germany

1–1

Bulgaria
Yordanov

23.08.1989

Line-up: Valov – Ginchev (Georgiev h-t), Dochev, Ivanov, Bankov, Vasev – Petkov (Todorov 85), Yordanov, K Balakov – Kostadinov (Mihtarski 59), Stoichkov (Simeonov 76)

Int. friendly

Italy
Baggio (19′ pen, 35′)
Carnevale (46′)
Vialli (54′)

4–0
(Report)

Bulgaria

20.09.1989
Stadio Dino Manuzzi, Cesena

Line-up (4-4-2): Valov – Dimitrov, Iliev, Ivanov, Dochev – Petkov (Simeonov 84), Bankov, Yordanov (Kostadinov h-t), K Balakov – Stoichkov (c), Penev.
4-0 is obviously a comprehensive win, but it did flatter the Italians slightly. Bulgaria were presented with a few openings of their own, but they just could not take them. They were never as close as when Stoichkov hit the inside of the post within the opening five minutes. Then their woeful defending allowed the home side to score four times. 

Qualifier 5

Bulgaria
Ivanov (71′)
Bankov (74′)
Iskrenov (77′)
Stoichkov (88′)

4–0
(Report)

Greece

11.10.1989
Yuri Gagarin Stadion, Varna

Line-up (4-3-3): Valov – Dimitrov, Ivanov, Bankov, Tinchev – Georgiev, Yordanov (Lechkov 85), K Balakov – Kostadinov (Penev 64), Stoichkov (c), Iskrenov.
Ill-tempered match with four goals and four red cards as Bulgaria finally get their first win of 1989. The match is played in atrocious conditions on a rapidly deteriorating pitch, and it is the home side that are least affected as they romp to victory with a collection of late goals. The margin of win flatters Bulgaria, but indisciplined visitors deserve what they get. Good games from Yordanov, Stoichkov and Iskrenov, and there’s a debut for Lechkov late on.

Qualifier 6

Greece
Nioplias (49′)

1–0
(Report)

Bulgaria

15.11.1989
Olympiakó Stádio, Athens

Line-up: Valov – Dimitrov, Dochev (Stoyanov 74), Ivanov, Bankov, Tinchev – Yanchev, Yordanov, K Balakov – Iskrenov (Kostadinov 52), Stoichkov.
Small crowd sees Greece and Bulgaria end their forgettable qualification campaigns, and the visitors ought to be feeling disappointed to prop up the final table having won by that big margin against the same opponent recently.

Conclusion

A disappointing qualification for Bulgaria. This was in fact by far the worst campaign they had had for years, and also compared with the years to come.

But there were also positives to take with them. The campaign saw the introduction of several players from a golden generation who would bring Bulgaria into the success of the 90s. Trifon Ivanov, Krasimir Balakov, Yordan Lechkov, Emil Kostadinov.

PosTeamPlWDLGFGAPts
1Romania64111059
2Denmark63211568
3Greece61233154
4Bulgaria6114683

Player Statistics

Number of players used: 34
Number of players including unused substitutes: 36
Ever-presents (540 mins): 0
Leading goalscorer: Six players with one goal each
Yellow/red cards: 11/2

– overview

NameAppsStartSubUnSubMinsGlsY/R
Aleksandrov, Petar11131
Bakalov, Marin1190
Balakov, Krasimir4311271
Bankov, Kalin2218011/0
Bezinski, Krasimir22180
Dimitrov, Emil221180
Dochev, Pavel442344
Donev, Nikolay22381
Georgiev, Georgi111520/1
Getov, Plamen22180
Iliev, Nikolay33270
Iskrenov, Bozhidar22014211/0
Ivanov, Trifon44135112/1
Kirov, Ivaylo2211801/0
Kiryakov, Iliyan321216
Kolev, Hristo11591
Kostadinov, Emil32111921/0
Lechkov, Yordan1115
Mihaylov, Borislav1190
Mikhtarski, Petar1190
Mladenov, Dimitar1190
Mladenov, Nedyalko1
Mladenov, Stoycho1190
Nikolov, Plamen1190
Penev, Lyuboslav3212061/0
Rakov, Zapryan3211841/0
Sadakov, Ayan3322511/0
Simeonov, Plamen11145
Stoichkov, Hristo6653911/0
Stoyanov, Vlado1116
Tinchev, Vasil332701/0
Valov, Iliya551369
Vasev, Dimitar22144
Voynov, Iliya2
Yanchev, Kostadin1190
Yordanov, Georgi44351

– game by game

PlayerRom (h)Den (a)Den (h) Rom (a)Gre (h) Gre (a)AppsMins
Mihaylov90190
Nikolov90190
Rakov904902+1184
Iliev9090903270
Vasev54902144
Sadakov9090453225
Yordanov908685904351
Getov90902180
Aleksandrov31R131
Penev9090262+1206
Stoichkov9089909090906539
Kolev59159
Kiriyakov3690902+1216
ValovR90544590905369
DochevR909090R744344
IvanovR81 (s.o.)9090904351
Bezinski90902180
Kirov9090R2180
Balakov1R9090903+1271
DonevR3645RR+281
DimitrovR90902180
Simeonov45R+145
Mihtarski90190
VoynovRR
KostadinovR9064382+1192
Mladenov, D90190
Bakalov90190
Tinchev9090903270
Mladenov, S90190
Mladenov, NR
GeorgievR52 (s.o.)152
Bankov90902180
Iskrenov90522142
Lechkov5R+15
YanchevR90190
Stoyanov16+116

– ratings

PosPlayerAverage ratingNumber of rated games
1Ivanov 6,963
2Stoichkov6,905
3Yordanov6,863
4Dochev6,703
5Penev6,633
5Iliev6,633
7Sadakov 6,603
8Valov6,504
Explanation to table: Total number of rated games: 5. A player needs to have obtained a rating from three or more games in order to feature.

Post-qualification

Friendly
05.05.1990 Brazil 2-1 Bulgaria
Goal: Kostadinov
Line-up: Valov – Dimitrov (Dochev h-t), Ivanov, Bankov, Vasev (Lechkov 67) – Yanchev, Todorov (Georgiev 62), Yordanov, K Balakov – Kostadinov (Mihtarski h-t), Stoichkov (c) (Panchev 86)

Leave a Reply