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Friday, 2 September 2011
2012 UEFA European Championship Group G qualification match

Bulgaria 0 England 3 [0-3]

Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski, Sredets, Sofija
Attendance: 36,521;
Kick-off: 8.18pm CET, 7.18pm BST;
Live on Sky Sports One/HD (UK) - Commentator: Martin Tyler

England - Gary Cahill (six-yard toe-poke 13 12:07), Wayne Rooney (header 21 20:52, four-yard tap-in 45+1 45:47) Match Summary
Bulgaria Squad

England Squad
Results 2010-2015 England - Scott Parker (35 34:20),
Bulgaria - Georgi Sarmov (59
58:20), Zhikov Milanov (84 83:18)

England kicked-off. 93 minutes (46:38 & 46:37)

Match Summary

Officials from Belgium




Referee (red) - Frank de Bleeckere
5 (1 July 1966), Oudenaarde, FIFA-listed 1998

Assistant Referees - Peter Hermans, 45 (27 July 1966) and Mark Simons, 44 (29 December 1966).

Fourth official - Christof Dierick, 32 (3 January 1979), UEFA-listed 2011.

UEFA Delegate - Nebojsa Ivković, Serbia
Referee Observer - Ladislav Gadosi, Slovakia

7 Goal Attempts 8
2 Attempts on Target 5
0 Hit Bar/Post 1
2 Corner Kicks Won 4
3 Offside Calls Against 3
19 Fouls Conceded 8
46.4% Possession 53.6%

Bulgaria Team



FIFA (24th August 2011) 51st
EFO ranking Group 5
ELO rating =39th
Colours: Made by Kappa - White crew neck jerseys with green kappa logo's, green shorts with white kappa logo's, white socks with green tops.
Capt: Stiliyan Petrov Manager: Lothar Herbert Matthaus, 50 (21 March 1961 in West Germany), appointed 21 September 2010.
9th match, W 3 - D 3 - L 3 - F 7 - A 8.
Bulgaria Lineup
13 Mihaylov, Nikolay 23 28 June 1988 G FC Twente '65, Netherlands 17 0
15 Ivanov, Ivan K. 23 25 February 1988 CD FK Partizan Feredon, Serbia 21 0
16 Milanov, Zhivko 27 15 July 1984 RM FC Vaslui, Romania 23 0
Milanov cautioned in the 84th minute for dissent, for throwing the ball away after the whistle is blown.
4 Zanev, Petar D. 25 18 October 1985 LB PFC Litex Lovech AD 17 0
5 Bodurov, Nikolay G. 25 30 May 1986 RB PFC Litex Lovech AD 8 0
17 Petrov, Martin P. 32 15 January 1979 LM Bolton Wanderers FC, England 90 19
7 Georgiev, Blagoy Z. 29 21 December 1981 CM RFC Terek Grozny, Russia 49 5
19 Petrov, Stiliyan A. 32 5 July 1979 CM Aston Villa FC, England 103 8
9 Popov, Ivelin I., off 81st min. 23 26 October 1987 F Gaziantepspor, Turkey 27 7
20 Genkov, Tsvetan V. 27 8 February 1984 F Wisła Kraków SA, Romania 18 0
11 Bandalovski, Ivan, off 46th min. 24 23 November 1986 CD PFC Central Sports Club of the Army 8 0
Bulgaria Substitutes
scoreline: Bulgaria 0 England 3
8 Sarmov, Georgi Z., on 46th min. for Bandolovski 25 7 September 1985 M Kasımpaşa SK, Turkey 6 0
Sarmov cautioned in the 59th minute for unsporting behaviour, for a harsh challenge with studs showing.
22 Bozhilov, Georgi, on 61st min. for Genkov 24 11 February 1987 F PFC Cherno More Varana 1 0
6 Marquinhos, on 81st min. for Popov 29 20 August 1982
born in Brazil
M Anorthosis Famagusta FC, Greece 3 0
result: Bulgaria 0 England 3
unused substitutes: 1-Vladislav Stoyanov, 3-Valentin Iliev, 18-Simeon Raykov, 21-Kostadin Stoyanov.
Coach Lothar Matthaus played for West Germany against England in October 1982, June 1985 and was captain in the 1990 World Cup semi-final match. He then captained the re-unified Germany against England in September 1991 and June 1993. He won his 149th cap against England in the 2000 World Cup Finals group stages, but not as captain.
4-4-2 Mihaylov -
Bodurov, Bandalovski (Sarmov), Ivanov, Zanev -
Milanov, Georgiev, S.Petrov, M.Petrov -
Genkov (Bozhilov), Popov (Marquinhos).
Averages (Starting XI): Age 26.4 Appearances/Goals 34.6 3.5


England Team



FIFA (24th August 2011) 4th
EFO ranking Group 3
ELO rating 6th
Colours: The 2011 away uniform - Galaxy blue collared jerseys with regatta blue collar, regatta blue shorts, galaxy blue socks with regatta blue tops.
Capt: John Terry, 31st captaincy Manager: Fabio Capello, 65 (18 June 1946), appointed 14 December 2007, effective 7 January 2008,
38th match, W 25 - D 7 - L 6 - F 84 - A 33.
England Lineup
1 Hart, C. Joseph J. 24 19 April 1987 G Manchester City FC 12 6ᵍᵃ
2 Smalling, Christopher L. 21 22 November 1989 RB Manchester United FC 1 0
3 Cole, Ashley 30 20 December 1980 LB Chelsea FC 90 0
4 Parker, Scott M. 30 13 October 1980 CM Tottenham Hotspur FC 7 0
Parker cautioned in the 35th minute for unsporting behaviour, for a petulant challenge on Blagoy Georgiev just outside the centre circle.
5 Cahill, Gary J. 25 19 December 1985 CD Bolton Wanderers FC 4 1
6 Terry, John G. 30 7 December 1980 CD Chelsea FC 69 6
7 Walcott, Theo J., off 83rd min. 22 16 March 1989 RM Arsenal FC 18 3
8 Barry, Gareth, off 80th min. 30 23 February 1981 CM Manchester City FC 47 2
9 Young, Ashley S., off 62nd min. 26 9 July 1985 AM Manchester United FC 16 2
Rooney, Wayne M. 25 24 October 1985 CF Manchester United FC 71 27
11 Downing, Stewart 27 22 July 1984 LM Liverpool FC 28 0
England Substitutes
scoreline: Bulgaria 0 England 3
15 Milner, James P., on 62nd min (61:11) for Young. 25 4 January 1986 CM Manchester City FC 20 0
16 Lampard, Frank J., on 80th min (79:25) for Barry. 33 20 June 1978 RM Chelsea FC 87 21
17 Johnson, Adam, on 83rd min (82:43) for Walcott. 24 14 July 1987 LM Manchester City FC 7 2
result: Bulgaria 0 England 3
unused substitutes: 12-David Stockdale, 13-Phil Jagielka, 14-Leighton Baines, 18-Jermain Defoe.
Coach Fabio Capello played for Italy against England in June (scoring one) and November 1973 (scoring another), and in May and November 1976. He played against Bulgaria in June 1972.
4-5-1 Hart -
Smalling, Cahill, Terry, Cole -
Walcott (Johnson), Parker, Young (Milner), Barry (Lampard), Downing -
Averages (Starting XI): Age 26.4 Appearances/Goals 32.9 3.8


    Match Report by Mike Payne

It is difficult to know if it was planned that way but England coach Fabio Capello seems to have stumbled on a new and exciting England side, full of flexibility, enthusiasm and looking as though they are enjoying playing for their country.  This match in Sofia turned out to be an easy 3-0 victory and sets England up for yet another successful qualifying campaign.

There were one or two surprises in the selection of the team, most notably no place for Frank Lampard and a debut for Chris Smalling.  The latter lined up at right-back and continued his incredible rapid and deserved progression to the top of the football tree.

The other strange decision came in the kit England were wearing, a dark blue and light blue outfit which would probably be better seen at an Oxford v Cambridge boat race.  At least it was different! 

After a slightly nervous opening ten minutes when both sides were feeling each other out, England found the perfect answer to settle those nerves, a goal.  Ashley Cole forced a corner and when the ball was only half cleared Theo Walcott tried a snapshot which was blocked, but ran back to the Arsenal winger.  This time Walcott touched the ball inside to Gareth Barry who sent a lovely pass over the top of the defenders to Gary Cahill.  The Bolton Wanderers player expertly chested the ball down and as the goalkeeper came out he prodded it under his body and into the net.  The celebrations were, at first, muted, but Cahill thinking he was offside suddenly realised he had scored for his country, and finally looked a little bit pleased! Cahill had become the first Wanderer's player to score since Ray Parry in 1959.

Joe Hart's kicking left a little to be desired, but apart from that England's defence coped easily with a Bulgaria attack that had nothing much to offer.  It was only ever going to be an England mistake that would offer the home side an opening and thankfully there was little chance of that.  Cahill and John Terry looked solid and dependable and the two full-backs showed their class.  In front of the back four Scott Parker had a superb game and all through the match he was busy, tackling, intercepting and always looking to get forward to support the attack.  He was ably assisted by Barry and the two wide men, Walcott and Stewart Downing.  Bulgaria really had no answer to this England line-up and on 20 minutes their problems grew even greater.

Wayne Rooney saw a shot deflected for a corner and when Downing's cross came over it was Rooney himself who leapt at the far post unchallenged to head powerfully into the net.  The Manchester United star was outstanding on the night and the many smiles on his face during the evening highlighted how much he is enjoying his football at the moment.  When Rooney is in this mood he is virtually unstoppable.

Bulgaria did have a ten minute spell where they exerted a little pressure on England but there were no major scares.  Smalling headed out from under his own crossbar after Hart misjudged one centre from the right, and then Cole acrobatically headed clear after Smalling had also misjudged a cross.  But England put the icing on the cake just before the break when Parker charged down a Bulgarian shot and the ball ran for Walcott to break quickly.  As Ashley Young moved to the right and Walcott cut inside the ball was laid out to Young and his quick first-time pass ran across goal for Rooney to have the easiest of tap-ins at the far post to make it 3-0.  It was a devastating and pacy break and it finished the Bulgarians off completely.  That took Rooney to 28  [ed: 27 goals] England goals, just two [ed: three] behind Tom Finney, Alan Shearer and Nat Lofthouse.

England comfortably strolled the second half although they had to negotiate a ten minute burst after the restart from the home side.  Terry made one very good block and then Ivanov headed over as Bulgaria responded to their manager's obvious half-time rollicking, and on 53 minutes Hart made his one difficult save of the night from Stiliyan Petrov's header.  But a minute later England were on the attack again following a fine run and cross from Walcott.  The ball reached an unmarked Downing at the far post and his header across goal seemed goalbound until it struck a post before being cleared.  Almost immediately an interception by Parker gave the new Spurs player the chance to strike for goal, but his toe poke was well pushed away by Mihaylov.  This burst of pressure from England stifled any thought of a comeback by Bulgaria and rarely has an England side been so in control.

On the hour Young set Walcott up with another chance and he really should have scored, and then seven minutes later Rooney had a header easily saved.  The dominance of England left Bulgaria bereft of ideas and they resorted to some cynical fouling at times.  Luckily the referee kept good control and on 74 minutes Walcott missed his best chance of adding to his England tally of goals.  Rooney set him up with a delightful through ball but Walcott fired his shot well wide when it seemed easier to score.  There was some possibility of a bobble on what was a poor playing surface but Walcott should have made it four.

Capello made three second half substitutes with Milner, Lampard and Johnson coming on for Young, Barry and Walcott, but there was no difference in the play and England looked so comfortable.  All the players looked as though they were really enjoying it and that makes this fan very happy!  Too often recently playing for England has seemed a chore for the players so it was very gratifying to see this new relaxed approach.

On 87 minutes Rooney came within a whisker of reaching a dangerous cross from Milner and the game ended with Rooney almost finding that elusive third goal, only to be crowded out by the home defenders.  You would have to say that Rooney was outstanding on the night and he is back to his best form again.  But I felt that Parker was just as effective and gave the perfect performance as that protector of the back four.  His all-round energy was superb, and his tackling and interceptions were magnificent.  Bulgaria had no answer to him.

The England performance was so good that by the end of the match I had almost even grown to like the kit!

Source Notes

BBC Sport
BFU website
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor