Bulgaria’s Euro 2016 qualifying chances dwindle

Bulgaria’s national football team lost twice in the span of four days to see its chances of qualification to the 2016 European championship final tournament drastically reduced.

After losing to Croatia 0-1 in Sofia on October 10, the team was expected to put up more of a fight against Norway, seen as the direct rival for the third place that offers a chance to qualify for Euro 2016 via play-offs, only for Bulgaria to succumb to a 2-1 defeat in Oslo on October 13.

Neither loss was particularly surprising, but the manner of defeat was the one that prompted disappointment and some angry reactions among Bulgarian media and fans. Never the soundest of teams defensively, Bulgaria’s frailties at the back were exposed against Croatia and Norway, with all three goals coming after costly defensive errors.

Worse yet, in both matches Bulgaria set out to play rather defensively, inviting pressure from the opposing team but unable to make them pay on the counter-attack. Bulgaria’s only goal in the two matches came from a set piece, with defender Nikolai Bodurov converting from a corner (he scored against Croatia as well, the own goal that decided the outcome).

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(Photo: juan carlos arellano/sxc.hu)