Can A World Cup Hero Inspire Bulgaria?

Last updated : 26 August 2019 By Three Lions

England's next Euro 2020 opponents have had a disastrous start to qualifying with Bulgaria taking just two points from four matches to date.

While Gareth Southgate's side were away at the Nations League Finals in June, Bulgaria saw their hopes of a top two finish in Group A all but disappear after defeats by the Czech Republic and surprise package Kosovo.

Those two games were the first in charge for new coach Krasimir Balakov, a hero of the 1994 World Cup and part of a generation of players that Bulgaria have been trying in vain to replace ever since with no major tournament reached since the final stages of Euro 2004.

Balakov's first squad was drawn largely from domestic based players with only six of the group plying their trade outside the country.

However, even if Bulgaria do not qualify automatically from the group they retain a chance of making the finals of Euro 2020 thanks to the changes in the play-off system.

Although they did not win their Nations League C group they did enough to be the top-ranked side outside of the four countries who did.

If any of those qualify automatically for the finals, Finland looking the most likely at present, Bulgaria will step up and take their place in the play-offs and could meet Scotland at that stage.