Bulgaria national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Лъвовете (The Lions)
AssociationBulgarian Football Union
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachKrasimir Balakov
CaptainIvelin Popov
Most capsStiliyan Petrov (105)
Top scorerDimitar Berbatov (48)
Hristo Bonev (48)
Home stadiumVasil Levski National Stadium
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 62 Decrease 2 (19 September 2019)[1]
Highest3 (June 1995)
Lowest96 (August 2012)
Elo ranking
Current 64 Decrease 15 (13 September 2019)[2]
Highest3 (August 1975)
Lowest69 (12 November 2016)
First international
 Bulgaria 0–0 Austria 
(Vienna, Austria; 21 May 1924)
Biggest win
 Bulgaria 10–0 Ghana 
(Leon, Mexico; 14 October 1968)
Biggest defeat
 Bulgaria 1–8 Spain 
(Madrid, Spain; 21 May 1933)
World Cup
Appearances7 (first in 1930)
Best resultSemi-Finals (1994)
Euro Cup
Appearances3 (first in 1968)
Best resultQuarter-Finals (1968)
Olympic Games
Appearances5 (first in 1924)
Best resultRunners-Up (1968)
Balkan Cup
Appearances12 (first in 1930)
Best resultChampions (1931, 1932, 1948, 1976)

The Bulgaria national football team (Bulgarian: Български национален отбор по футбол) represents Bulgaria in international football, and is administered by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA. The team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, and Krasimir Balakov is the current national team manager.

Their best achievements are reaching the final in the 1968 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1994. They have also competed at the Balkan Cup winning four titles. However, Bulgaria has failed to qualify for any major tournament since Euro 2004.


Early history[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, which resulted in a 0–0 draw with Austria. Bulgaria also participated in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris a few days later.

1930 World Cup withdrawal[edit]

Bulgaria's first qualification to a World Cup was for the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay. The national team had to cancel their entry due to flight delays caused by tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean. Their original group stage opponents were set as Brazil, Yugoslavia and Bolivia.

Years of international wilderness[edit]

After being unable to compete in the 1930 World Cup, the Bulgarian side did not qualify for any major tournament for nearly 30 years, narrowly falling short of qualification on numerous occasions. The national team had gone on a streak of finishing 2nd or 3rd in their qualifying groups along with proceeding to the play-offs, but in the end, failing to qualify. Despite their qualifying problems, the national team did manage to defeat many elite teams during memorable international friendlies during those years. It also seemed as if the only tournaments they managed to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they won four times.

1960s and 1970s: Rising to prominence[edit]

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

The team qualified for its first-ever UEFA European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with impressive wins over Norway (4–2), Sweden (3–0) and Portugal (1–0) before losing to eventual champions and hosts Italy in a two-legged quarter-final. Bulgaria won the first leg 3–2, but lost the second by a 2–0 score to lose 4–3 on aggregate. They remained the only team to have defeated the eventual champions, before their surprising quarter-final finish.

At the 1968 Summer Olympics, the team won the silver medal. They finished first in Group D by defeating Thailand 7–0, Guatemala 2–1, and drawing 2–2 against Czechoslovakia. They advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Israel and then the semi-finals by defeating favored hosts Mexico. In the Olympic Final, the team was defeated by Hungary, in what many would say was a hard fought match for both sides.

Despite winning the tournament two times already in 1931 and 1932, the Bulgaria national team added two more Balkan Cup trophies to their case as they went on to win the tournament in 1973 and 1976. In both 1973 and 1976, Bulgaria had used their previous world cup experience to create a very tactical team. This paid off quite well, as they had many decisive victories over Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Poland, Albania and Romania. In fact, the team won the 1976 Balkan Cup by beating Romania in the two-legged final 1–0 and 3–2.

1962 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria finally qualified for their second world cup. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with elite opponents in England, powerhouse Argentina and Hungary. Bulgaria opened up their campaign with a narrow 0–1 loss to Argentina. Later on, Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 6–1 score to Hungary. Bulgaria’s hopes of qualifying were over, but the national team impressively drew with future 1966 World Cup champions England 0-0 and finished fourth in the group with only one point.

1966 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for their second straight World Cup, drawn into an even tougher group compared to the previous World Cup. They were placed in the group of death with superpowers Hungary, Portugal and Brazil, with Pele at the helm. Bulgaria opened their campaign match with a 0–2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pele and Garrincha. In their second match Bulgaria loss 0-3 to Eusebio's Portugal. Finally, Bulgaria with no chance of advancing to the next round, finished their last match with a 1–3 loss to Hungary. Bulgaria once again finished fourth with zero points in the group.

1968 Euro Cup: Quarter-finals[edit]

After their poor World Cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves. Bulgaria was drawn in a very tough group with Norway and Sweden along with Eusebio's Portugal. Bulgaria started off with a 4–2 win over Norway. They would add to their winning streak with a 3–0 destruction of Sweden. Their final match determined who would win the group. Bulgaria went on to defeat Portugal by a 1–0 score, being undefeated group winners which qualified them to the two-legged quarterfinal. Bulgaria went on to face hosts Italy. The hosts were defeated 3–2, but won 2–0 in the second leg. Italy would go on to win the tournament, while Bulgaria were given the 5th-place ranking.

1968 Summer Olympics: Road to the final[edit]

A month and a half after the European Championship came the Olympics, which Bulgaria had qualified for the fifth time in their history. They were drawn in a simple group with Thailand, Guatemala and Czechoslovakia. Bulgaria started off with a 7–0 thrashing of Thailand. They later went on and drew with Czechoslovakia 2–2 to increase their point standards. Their final match once again determined if they would carry on to the quarter-finals. Needing a decisive win, Bulgaria went on to defeat Guatemala 2–1 and win their Olympic group. They qualified directly to the quarter-finals facing underdogs, Israel. The game remained 1–1 for most of the match until a drawing of lots determined who would go on to the semi-finals of the tournament. Winning the draw Bulgaria advanced to the semi-finals against Mexico. After a very hard fought match, Bulgaria proved stronger as they came out on top with a 3–2 victory. Bulgaria advanced to the finals for the first time in their Olympic history. They were determined to win the gold medal, but fell short with a 1–4 loss to Hungary. Although battling hard, Bulgaria came out with the silver medal.

1970 World Cup[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for their third straight World Cup, held in Mexico, just like the 1968 Olympics. They were drawn in a very tricky group with Germany, Peru and Morocco. Bulgaria played their first match against Peru, losing 3–2. Germany won Bulgaria's second match, 5–2. The last group stage match ended 1–1; Bulgaria ended up in 3rd place.

1974 World Cup[edit]

The 1974 World Cup was held in West Germany. They were drawn in a decently tough group, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Uruguay. Bulgaria started off with a goalless draw with Sweden. They drew again, this time 1–1 with Uruguay. As the final match came, Bulgaria fell by a 4–1 score. Bulgaria remained in third place in the group stages.

1986 World Cup: The knockout rounds[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico by finishing second in Group Four, behind France with 11 points, but ahead of powerful rivals Yugoslavia and Germany. 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 an impressive 1–1 draw. Alessandro Altobelli gave the Italians the lead, but an 85th-minute equalizer by Nasko Sirakov gave the Bulgarians the point they needed. 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 eventually won the tournament. Despite not recording a win, the Bulgarians advanced to the knockout stage by being the third-best third-placed team. By doing so, Bulgaria along with 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, who were looking for revenge due to their previous home Olympic semi-final loss to Bulgaria in Mexico City in 1968. The match was hard fought from both sides of the scale but ultimately, Mexico came away with the 2–0 win.

Stoichkov's reign of the Golden Generation[edit]

Hristo Stoichkov won the Ballon D'Or, World and European Golden Boots in 1994. His incredible style of play led Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, along with leading Barcelona to their first ever UEFA Champions League in 1992.

1994 World Cup: Final four triumph[edit]

Certainly one of the most important dates in Bulgarian football history is 17 November 1993, a date where Emil Kostadinov scored two goals in the 90th minute to beat France in Paris, allowing Bulgaria to qualify for the World Cup in the United States in 1994. Under the management of Dimitar Penev, the Bulgarians, led by players such as 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 surprisingly reaching the semi-finals. They entered a very tough Group D with 1990 World Cup runners-up Argentina with Diego Maradona at the helm, African Nations Cup champions Nigeria, and Balkan rivals Greece. The first match ended with a 3–0 defeat to Nigeria. Despite the bad start, the team made quite a huge statement by winning 4–0 against their Greece and increasing their goal difference. Their third and final match came against Argentina. The powerful Bulgarian side came away with a shocking 2–0 victory. Going into injury-time, Argentina was leading the group. A 91st-minute strike from Nasko Sirakov, however, meant that they'd drop two places and finish third.

Bulgaria continued to the round of 16, where they faced Mexico. Stoichkov opened the scoring in the sixth minute with an incredible strike off a break away from outside the box, tallying his fourth goal. The match ended 1–1 and after no goals were scored in extra time, penalties decided which team would go through. Team captain Borislav Mihaylov saved the first three penalty kicks in a row, breaking the World Cup record. Bulgaria won 3–1 on penalties. In the quarter-finals, Bulgaria faced the defending world champions Germany. At the start of the match held in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Bulgarians dominated impressively, hitting the post twice in the process. The Bulgarians, however, managed to turn the game over with a swerving free kick by Hristo Stoichkov and a flying header by Yordan Lechkov, giving them a 2–1 win. In the semi-finals, they controversially lost 2–1 to Italy. Stoichkov scored Bulgaria's only goal in the first half to tally his seventh goal, which led the tournament. In the second half, Bulgaria were waved off a penalty in which an Italian defender had clearly committed a handball in the box, off a Kostadinov cross.

Hristo Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot shared with Oleg Salenko as the top scorer in the tournament with his six goals. Krasimir Balakov was named in the 1994 World Cup Dream Team along with Stoichkov. Later on in December, Stoichkov was awarded the FIFA Ballon D'Or trophy for his great skill and leadership, becoming the first Bulgarian and third Barcelona player to win it in history.[citation needed]

Euro 1996: Controversial quarter-final call[edit]

In 1996, the team qualified for the European Football Championship for the first time. They were drawn in Group B with France, Spain, and Romania. Bulgaria started with a 1–1 draw against the Spain. Stoichkov scored his second goal with a wonderful volley, ruled offside. Bulgaria defeated Romania 1–0 in the next group stage match. Stoichkov scored in the third minute. In the final group match, the Bulgarian side lost 3–1 against France; Stoichkov scored a free kick to give Bulgaria their only goal of the game, along with their only loss. At the same time, Spain defeated Romania 2–1, and Bulgaria were eliminated.

1998 World Cup: The Last Stand of the "Golden Team"[edit]

Bulgaria qualified for the 1998 World Cup in France by finishing first in Group 5, with decisive wins over Russia. They entered the competition with new manager Hristo Bonev. Bulgaria drew Spain, Nigeria, and Paraguay in Group D. The first match ended decently, in a goalless draw against eventual group winners Paraguay. In the second match, the Bulgarians lost 1–0 for a second-straight World Cup to Nigeria. The final match ended with a 6–1 defeat to Spain. Following the bad results, Bulgaria finished fourth in the group, with only one point. This was the last World Cup appearance for Bulgaria.


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

Bulgaria was drawn in a tough qualifying group with teams England, Sweden, and Poland. The campaign started slow 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 match for 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]

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

Bulgaria was once again drawn into a tough group with Denmark and Czech Republic. The group was also the debut of Bulgaria's top scoring legend Dimitar Berbatov. Bulgaria won the matches against the weaker teams, but lost once and drew once with both Denmark and the Czech Republic. Bulgaria finished third with 17 points, three points behind second-placed Czech Republic, thus failing to make the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Euro 2004[edit]

Berbatov training with Bulgaria before Euro 2004

Bulgaria managed to qualify for the Euro 2004 in Portugal by finishing first with wins over Croatia and Belgium. They drew Sweden, Italy, and Denmark in Group C. All three group stage matches ended up in losses for Bulgaria.

2006 World Cup qualification: Failure[edit]

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germany after a run of poor results. They tied with Sweden and Croatia the first run but lost the other meetings to the two sides. Although Berbatov scored many goals in the qualifiers including a last-minute equalizer against Croatia, Bulgaria still finished third in qualifying with 15 points.

2006 Kirin Cup[edit]

Bulgaria found themselves in a minor tournament in Japan known as the Kirin Cup. They started off well with a 2–1 victory over the hosts Japan. However, Bulgaria lost 5–1 to Scotland, the eventual cup champions. Bulgaria finished as the runners-up and received the silver medal.

Euro 2008 qualification[edit]

Group G of Euro 2008 qualification had Netherlands, Romania, and Bulgaria attempting to qualify for Euro 2008, hosted by Switzerland and Austria. Bulgaria performed well after a run of good results against Romania which gave them the first place. Bulgaria went on to the playoffs but drew the first match 1–1 along with losing their second match 2–0.

2010 World Cup qualification[edit]

Bulgaria in 2010

Bulgaria were drawn against Italy and Ireland in qualifying in Group 8. Bulgaria started the campaign with a series of draws. Manager Plamen Markov was replaced by Stanimir Stoilov in January 2009. The Bulgarians then recorded their first wins of the group over Cyprus, Montenegro and Georgia. They finished in third place with 14 points, therefore failing to qualify to a play-off spot.

Euro 2012[edit]

The national team in 2012

Bulgaria were drawn in Group G along with England, Switzerland, Wales, and Montenegro. Bulgaria finished in last place in the group.

2014 World Cup qualification[edit]

In the qualification phase for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, 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 some noteworthy performances in friendly matches before the start of the qualifying, including a 2–1 victory over 2010 World Cup runners-up Netherlands in Amsterdam. The qualifying began with a 2–2 draw against Euro 2012 runners-up Italy. Bulgaria then edged a tight match against Armenia, which ended 1–0. Next, Bulgaria drew 1–1 against Denmark. Four days later, Bulgaria earning a hard-fought 0–0 draw away to the Czech Republic. As a result, the team climbed from 96th in the FIFA World Rankings, their lowest position in history, to 40th in November 2012.

Penev's players hosted and defeated Malta 6–0 under heavy snowfall. Four days later, Bulgaria drew Denmark 1–1 in Copenhagen. This result left Bulgaria second in the group with 10 points, still undefeated. Bulgaria traveled to Italy, losing 1–0. After a series of poor results, Bulgaria ended up failing to qualify for Brazil 2014.

Euro 2016 qualification: Continuation of the drought[edit]

Bulgaria were placed in a group with Italy, Croatia, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Malta. Bulgaria opened up their first match with a 2–1 victory over Azerbaijan. They were defeated 1–0 by Croatia, following another 2–1 defeat to Norway. To make it worse, Bulgaria drew with Malta 1–1 at home, which would cause manager Lyuboslav Penev his position. He was replaced by Ludogorets Razgrad manager Ivaylo Petev.

On his debut match, Petev's squad drew Romania 0-0; this later led to a 2–2 draw with Italy, which Bulgaria led until a last-minute Italian equalizer. Bulgaria defeated Malta 1–0 to edge two points ever closer to the third place playoff position. After a series of losses, Bulgaria failed to qualify for Euro 2016 in France despite a 2–0 defeat of Azerbaijan.

2018 World Cup qualification[edit]

Bulgaria were drawn in a strong World Cup qualification group with the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Belarus and Luxembourg. They began with a 4–3 win against Luxembourg at home.[3] This was followed by heavy losses to France (4–1) and Sweden (3–0).[4][5] In November 2016, the Lions beat Belarus in Sofia 1–0,[6] and then put up one of their best performances in recent years, beating the Netherlands 2–0 to move into third place in the group.[7] Bulgaria then beat the group leaders Sweden 3–2 in Sofia to move one point behind their opponents in the table.[8] However, they lost the match against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena 3–1. A 1–0 defeat at home to France and a 1–1 draw in Luxembourg ended their chances of qualifying.[9]

2020 Euro Cup qualification and Nations League: Play-Offs[edit]

Bulgaria were drawn in UEFA Nations League C with Norway, Slovenia and Cyprus. Bulgaria opened up the campaign with a 2–1 win over Slovenia and a clean sheet against Norway. The Norwegians eventually avenged their loss to Bulgaria, resulting in a tie for first place. Bulgaria eventually closed out the second round of games with two 1–1 draws against Slovenia and Cyprus, resulting in a second place finish.

Bulgaria was drawn in Group A with England, Czech Republic, Montenegro and Kosovo. The team began the qualifying campaign with a 1–1 home draw against Montenegro and a 1–1 away draw to Kosovo while losing three major players due to injuries.[10] They later carried on with two more losses which sparked the end of their group campaign. The national side, although, still has a high chance of qualifying to the 2020 Euros through the Nations League playoffs despite their 4th place position in Group A.

The four best teams in League C according to the overall ranking that have not qualified for UEFA Euro 2020 through the qualifying group stage will compete in the play-offs, with the winners qualifying for the final tournament. If there are fewer than four teams in League C that have not qualified, the remaining slots are allocated to the next best ranked team, in this case, Bulgaria goes through to the playoffs.

League C
Rank Team
25 GW  Scotland[H] (X)
26 GW  Norway (X)
27 GW  Serbia (X)
28 GW  Finland (X)
29  Bulgaria
30  Israel
31  Hungary[H]
32  Romania[H]
33  Greece
34  Albania
35  Montenegro
36  Cyprus
37  Estonia (Y)
38  Slovenia
39  Lithuania (Z)


  1. GW Nations League group winner
  2. H UEFA Euro 2020 host
  3.      Team is currently in a position to qualify directly for the final tournament
  4.      Team is currently in a position to advance to the play-offs (in bold)
  5. (X) Team is assured of a play-off spot, but may still qualify directly for the final tournament.
  6. (Y) Cannot qualify directly, but may still advance to play-offs.
  7. (Z) May qualify directly, but cannot advance to play-offs.
  8. (E) Eliminated, cannot qualify directly or advance to play-offs.

Team image[edit]

Traditionally the Bulgarian squad plays at home entirely in the colours of the Bulgarian tri-color. Their nickname is The Lions, in tribute of the lions represented in the coat of arms of Bulgaria.


Vasil Levski National Stadium

Normally, the Bulgarian national football team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski National Stadium with a capacity of 45,000. Vasil Levski was officially opened in 1953 and reconstructed in 1966 and 2002. It is the second largest stadium in Bulgaria, behind the Plovdiv Stadium with a capacity of 55,000. During the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League, the stadium was used for Levski Sofia matches with Barcelona, Chelsea, and Werder Bremen. The Bulgarian national team's home matches and the Bulgarian Cup finals are held at the venue, as well as athletics competitions.

Competition history[edit]

     Champions       Runners-up       Semi-finals  

World Cup record[edit]

FIFA World Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay1930 Withdrew 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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 3 1 3 10 11
France 1998 Group Stage 22nd 3 0 1 2 1 7
Qatar 2022 To be determined
Total 7/21 26 3 8 15 22 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


Recent Results[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss

Ranking history[edit]

Rank Date
Best Rank 3 June 1995
Current Rank 62 September 2019
Worst Rank 96 May 2012
  • FIFA-ranking yearly averages for Bulgaria (1993–2019)[11]
As of 25 July 2019


Current squad[edit]

The following players have been called up for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match against England and the friendly against Republic of Ireland on 7 and 10 September 2019.[12]
Caps and goals as of 10 September 2019 after the match against Republic of Ireland.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
23 1GK Plamen Iliev (1991-11-30) 30 November 1991 (age 27) 14 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
1 1GK Hristo Ivanov (1982-04-06) 6 April 1982 (age 37) 1 0 Bulgaria Etar Veliko Tarnovo
13 1GK Martin Lukov (1993-07-05) 5 July 1993 (age 26) 0 0 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv

5 2DF Nikolay Bodurov (1986-05-30) 30 May 1986 (age 33) 50 2 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
2 2DF Strahil Popov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 29) 27 0 Turkey Kasımpaşa
15 2DF Vasil Bozhikov (1988-06-02) 2 June 1988 (age 31) 25 1 Slovakia Slovan Bratislava
14 2DF Anton Nedyalkov (1993-04-30) 30 April 1993 (age 26) 13 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
21 2DF Georgi Terziev (1992-04-18) 18 April 1992 (age 27) 11 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
20 2DF Ivan Goranov (1992-06-10) 10 June 1992 (age 27) 4 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia
3 2DF Kristian Dimitrov (1997-02-27) 27 February 1997 (age 22) 4 1 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv
4 2DF Georgi Pashov (1990-03-04) 4 March 1990 (age 29) 1 0 Armenia Ararat-Armenia

17 3MF Georgi Milanov (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 27) 42 2 Hungary Fehérvár
6 3MF Simeon Slavchev (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 25) 25 0 Azerbaijan Qarabağ
8 3MF Georgi Sarmov (1985-09-07) 7 September 1985 (age 34) 14 0 Germany Chemnitzer FC
12 3MF Bozhidar Kraev (1997-06-23) 23 June 1997 (age 22) 10 2 Portugal Gil Vicente
22 3MF Nikolay Dimitrov (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 31) 11 1 Russia Ural Yekaterinburg
7 3MF Marcelinho (1984-08-24) 24 August 1984 (age 35) 8 2 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
18 3MF Galin Ivanov (1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 31) 7 1 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia
16 3MF Kristiyan Malinov (1994-03-30) 30 March 1994 (age 25) 7 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia
9 3MF Wanderson (1988-01-02) 2 January 1988 (age 31) 2 0 Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad
24 3MF Vasil Panayotov (1990-07-16) 16 July 1990 (age 29) 1 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna

10 4FW Ivelin Popov (Captain) (1987-10-26) 26 October 1987 (age 31) 86 16 Russia Rostov
11 4FW Kiril Despodov (1996-11-11) 11 November 1996 (age 22) 9 1 Austria Sturm Graz
19 4FW Daniel Mladenov (1987-05-25) 25 May 1987 (age 32) 2 0 Bulgaria Etar Veliko Tarnovo

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 Nikolay Mihaylov (1988-06-28) 28 June 1988 (age 31) 37 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
GK Dimitar Evtimov (1993-09-07) 7 September 1993 (age 26) 0 0 England Accrington Stanley v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
GK Blagoy Makendzhiev (1988-07-11) 11 July 1988 (age 31) 0 0 Bulgaria Dunav Ruse v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
GK Georgi Petkov (1976-03-14) 14 March 1976 (age 43) 18 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Slovenia, 19 November 2018

DF Ivan Bandalovski (1986-11-23) 23 November 1986 (age 32) 19 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
DF Viktor Genev (1988-10-27) 27 October 1988 (age 30) 0 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
DF Krum Stoyanov (1991-08-01) 1 August 1991 (age 28) 0 0 Bulgaria Etar Veliko Tarnovo v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
DF Kamen Hadzhiev (1991-09-22) 22 September 1991 (age 27) 0 0 Hungary Puskás Akadémia v.  Czech Republic, 7 June 2019
DF Ivan TuritsovU21 (1999-07-18) 18 July 1999 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Czech Republic, 7 June 2019INJ
DF Petar Zanev (1985-10-18) 18 October 1985 (age 33) 39 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
DF Valentin AntovU21 (2000-11-09) 9 November 2000 (age 18) 1 0 Bulgaria CSKA Sofia v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
DF Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski (1995-08-01) 1 August 1995 (age 24) 8 0 Romania FCSB v.  Slovenia, 19 November 2018

MF Georgi Kostadinov (1990-09-07) 7 September 1990 (age 29) 19 3 Russia Arsenal Tula v.  England, 7 September 2019INJ
MF Todor Nedelev (1993-02-07) 7 February 1993 (age 26) 25 2 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
MF Georgi Iliev (1981-09-05) 5 September 1981 (age 38) 24 2 Bulgaria Lokomotiv Plovdiv v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
MF Yanis Karabelyov (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 (age 23) 1 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
MF Antonio Vutov (1996-06-06) 6 June 1996 (age 23) 0 0 Bulgaria Botev Plovdiv v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
MF Ivaylo Chochev (1993-02-18) 18 February 1993 (age 26) 18 3 Italy Pescara v.  Montenegro, 22 March 2019INJ
MF Martin Raynov (1992-04-25) 25 April 1992 (age 27) 7 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Slovenia, 19 November 2018
MF Aleksandar Tsvetkov (1990-08-31) 31 August 1990 (age 29) 2 0 Bulgaria Beroe Stara Zagora v.  Slovenia, 19 November 2018
MF Svetoslav KovachevU21 (1998-03-14) 14 March 1998 (age 21) 0 0 Bulgaria Etar Veliko Tarnovo v.  Slovenia, 19 November 2018
MF Borislav Tsonev (1995-04-29) 29 April 1995 (age 24) 0 0 Croatia Inter Zaprešić v.  Norway, 16 October 2018INJ

FW Martin MinchevU21 (2001-04-22) 22 April 2001 (age 18) 3 0 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
FW Ismail Isa (1989-06-26) 26 June 1989 (age 30) 2 1 Bulgaria Cherno More Varna v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
FW Tsvetelin Chunchukov (1994-12-26) 26 December 1994 (age 24) 2 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
FW Stanislav IvanovU21 (1999-04-16) 16 April 1999 (age 20) 0 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Kosovo, 10 June 2019
FW Stanislav Kostov (1991-10-02) 2 October 1991 (age 27) 3 0 Bulgaria Levski Sofia v.  Czech Republic, 7 June 2019INJ
FW Spas Delev (1989-09-22) 22 September 1989 (age 29) 24 2 Bulgaria Arda Kardzhali v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
FW Radoslav Kirilov (1992-06-29) 29 June 1992 (age 27) 2 0 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia v.  Kosovo, 25 March 2019
FW Radoslav Vasilev (1990-10-12) 12 October 1990 (age 28) 6 1 Bulgaria Arda Kardzhali v.  Montenegro, 22 March 2019
  • INJ = Not part of the current squad due to injury.
  • U21 = Not part of the squad due to U-21 call up.

Coaching staff[edit]

Krasimir Balakov, the current manager of the Bulgaria national football team.
Role Name
Head coach Bulgaria Krasimir Balakov
Assistant coach(es) Bulgaria Anton Velkov
Goalkeeping coach Bulgaria Kaloyan Chakarov
Sport analysis Bulgaria Ivan Stoilov

Previous squads[edit]

Player records[edit]

Most goals[edit]

Dimitar Berbatov is Bulgaria's all-time top scorer with 48 goals.
# Player Career Goals Caps Average
1 Dimitar Berbatov 1999–2010 48 78 0.60
2 Hristo Bonev 1967–1979 48 96 0.49
3 Hristo Stoichkov 1987–1999 37 83 0.45
4 Emil Kostadinov 1988–1998 26 70 0.37
5 Petar Zhekov 1963–1972 25 44 0.57
6 Ivan Kolev 1950–1963 25 75 0.33
7 Atanas Mihaylov 1970–1981 23 45 0.51
8 Nasko Sirakov 1983–1996 23 82 0.28
9 Dimitar Milanov 1948–1959 20 39 0.51
10 Georgi Asparuhov 1962–1970 19 50 0.38
11 Dinko Dermendzhiev 1966–1977 19 58 0.33
12 Martin Petrov 1999–2013 19 89 0.21

Most appearances[edit]

Stiliyan Petrov is Bulgaria's most capped player with 105 appearances
# Player Career Caps Goals Average
1 Stiliyan Petrov 1998–2013 105 8 0.08
2 Borislav Mihaylov 1983–1998 102 0 0.00
3 Hristo Bonev 1967–1979 96 48 0.49
4 Krasimir Balakov 1988–2003 92 16 0.17
5 Dimitar Penev 1965–1974 90 2 0.02
6 Martin Petrov 1999–2013 89 19 0.21
7 Radostin Kishishev 1996–2009 88 1 0.01
8 Ivelin Popov 2007– 86 16 0.17
9 Hristo Stoichkov 1986–1999 83 37 0.45
10 Nasko Sirakov 1983–1996 82 23 0.28
11 Ayan Sadakov 1981–1991 80 9 0.11
= Zlatko Yankov 1989–1999 80 4 0.05

International match records[edit]

As of 10 September 2019 after match against  Republic of Ireland[13]

  Positive Record   Neutral Record   Negative Record

  1. ^ Includes matches against  Czechoslovakia.
  2. ^ Includes matches against  West Germany.
  3. ^ Includes matches against the  Soviet Union.
  4. ^ Includes matches against  Yugoslavia and  Serbia and Montenegro.

Head coaches[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Bulgaria-Luxembourg - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  4. ^ "France-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  5. ^ "Sweden-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  6. ^ "Bulgaria-Belarus - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  7. ^ "Bulgaria-Netherlands - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  8. ^ "Bulgaria-Sweden - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  9. ^ "Netherlands-Bulgaria - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  10. ^ "Bulgaria-Montenegro - European Qualifiers". UEFA.com.
  11. ^ "FIFA-ranking yearly averages for Bulgaria". Fifa.com. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Красимир Балъков обяви разширения състав на България „А" за двубоите с Англия и Република Ирландия" [Krasimir Balakov announced the preliminary squad of the men's national football team for the matches with England and Republic of Ireland] (in Bulgarian). Bulgarian Football Union. 27 August 2019.
  13. ^ "World Football Elo Ratings: Bulgaria". Elo Ratings. Retrieved 9 September 2017.

External links[edit]