Dimitar Berbatov explains why England could struggle to beat Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifier

Mirror Online Sports 1 day ago

Dimitar Berbatov says Bulgaria will be a tougher nut to crack in Sofia than they were at Wembley.

The ex-Manchester United star understands why England are favourites heading into Tuesday night’s fixture.

But he says his home country were their worst enemies after conceding an early goal in England's 4-0 win last month – and he believes Gareth Southgate’s men will be greeted by a wall of defenders.

Berbatov says trying to outplay England will be pointless for Krasimir Balakov’s side and is expecting a far more cagey evening.

He said: “The result wasn’t a good one for us – we made a mistake for the first goal – and we need to correct those mistakes.

Former Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov says England will have to break down a wall of defenders

“It comes down to us really concentrating when we have the ball.

“That’s because England’s players are very active. They pressure you and force you into mistakes.

“And when you are up against really quick players like Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, you can be in trouble.

“Gareth Southgate has got an exciting team and they play football.

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in England's 4-0 win last month

“It’s intelligent and interesting – you can see from the way the ball is moved around and the movement of the players that the are ideas there, that the tactics are there.

“So we need to be careful. To control the ball and, if we have a chance, to take it. It will be pretty much the same Bulgaria side that played at Wembley.

“I think we will probably defend more because if we try to outplay England we will have big problems.”

Three key men England must watch out for


Bozhidar Kraev is Bulgaria's main goal threat

Bulgaria's main goal threat will come from striker Kraev, a 22-year-old who plies his trade in Portugal with Gil Vicente, on loan from FC Midtjylland in Denmark.

He made his name with Levski Sofia, scoring 22 times in 83 games, and has found the net twice in 11 games for his nation.

Endeared himself to Vicente fans in his first game of the season, with the shock winner against Porto.


Marcelinho was one of Bulgaria's better players last month

The Brazil-born midfielder was one of Bulgaria’s best players at Wembley in September.

Not that he had a particularly good game, he was just one of the few who weren’t awful.

He joined Bulgarian side Ludogorets in 2011 and qualified for citizenship two years later before a debut for his adopted nation in 2016 against Portugal.


Wanderson in action against England's Kieran Trippier at Wembley

Another naturalised Bulgarian who hails from Brazil, he made headlines, of the unwanted variety, in August when an elaborate goal celebration came back to haunt him.

The 31-year-old Ludogorets star raced to the sidelines to plant a smacker on the lips of his wife after scoring against Slavia Sofia. The goal was then chalked off by VAR for offside.

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