Italy travels to the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia on Saturday, March 28 to take on Bulgaria in a qualifying round Group H match for the European Championships in France in 2016. Italy enters the match with 10 points after four games on three wins and a draw. They’ve scored six goals and allowed two against which puts them second in the standings on goal difference behind Croatia. Norway sits in third with nine points followed by Bulgaria with four, Malta with one and Azerbaijan with none. Bulgaria has a win, a draw and two losses with four goals scored and five conceded.
Bulgaria has a new manager in place with Ivaylo Petev now at the helm. He’ll be trying to kick start the team as it needs to pick up some points soon if it has any hopes of reaching Euro 2016, These two sides have squared off against each other 17 times previously with Italy winning nine times, Bulgaria taking two games and the other six ending in draws. The biggest meeting was back in the semifinal stage of the 1994 World Cup when Italy managed a 2-1 win at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
Bulgaria vs Italy in Euro 2016 Qualifier – bet365 lists Italy as the favorites to win the contest at 5/6 with Bulgaria 15/4 and a draw at 12/5.
The teams also met in the qualifying stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with their clash in Bulgaria ending in a 2-2 draw and Italy winning their home match 1-0. Bulgaria’s lone win in Euro 2016 qualifying so far came in their group opener when they took all three points in Azerbaijan. Their other point came in a 1-1 home draw with Malta. The Italian squad is unbeaten up to now and they’ve earned a pair of clean sheets in their two away outings.
Italy is riding a 44-game unbeaten streak in qualifying matches for major soccer tournaments with their last loss coming back in September of 2006. They were taken down 3-1 by France back then and have won 33 and drawn 11 encounters since. This will be the first competitive match in charge for Bulgaria’s Petev since he took over as manager from Luboslav Penev in December. He’s got a tough task in front of him as bet365 lists Italy as the favorites to win the contest at 5/6 with Bulgaria 15/4 and a draw at 12/5.
Bulgarian players Andrej Galabinov and Ivaylo Chochev both play their club soccer in Italy with Galabinov suiting up for AS Livorno Calcio and Chochev playing with Palermo. In 14 age-group games against each other, Italy also has a commanding record with 10 wins, two draws and two defeats. The Italians will be taking on England in a friendly three days after this game.