Bulgaria’s national football team drew its final Uefa Nations League match against Slovenia 1-1 at home, missing on the chance to win promotion and a spot in the Euro 2020 play-offs.
Trailing Norway on goal difference going into the final round of matches in group 3 of the third-tier League C of the competition, Bulgaria had to win by a larger margin than Norway, playing away in Cyprus.
But Bulgaria missed several chances to open the score in the first half and it was not until the 68th minute, when substitute Galin Ivanov headed in from a short distance into the open net, that Bulgaria took the lead.
By that point, Norway had a 2-0 lead in their match and Bulgaria’s chase for more goals left wide-open spaces in its defence, which Miha Zajc took advantage of to score an equaliser in the 75th minute.
Despite a close-run race to top of the group, Bulgaria may yet come to rue its failure to extract more than a draw from its trip to Cyprus at the weekend, which proved the difference in the final group standings.
By finishing runner-up, Bulgaria could still take part in the Euro 2020 play-offs for the final four spots, should Norway qualify directly. Its own chances of finishing top two in direct qualification will depend on the luck of the draw, to be held next month, but on the evidence of past qualifying campaigns, it could be yet another missed opportunity for Bulgaria to feature at a major tournament.