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 Bulgaria: The 22 for France 98

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( June 3 is the deadline to submit the final roster.)

The list that Coach Hristo Bonev presents is made up up of:

Goalkeepers: Zdravko Zdravkov, 27 years of age (Istanbulspor), Borislav Mihailov, 34 (Slavia Sofia).

Defenders: Trifon Ivanov, 32 (CSKA Sofia), Adalbert Zafirov, 29 (Arminia Bielefeld), Gosho Guinchev, 28 (Antalya), Ivailo Petkov, 21 (Litex Lovech), Radostin Kichichev, 23 (Bursaspor), Rossen Kirilov (Litex)

Midfielders: Zlatko Yankov, 31 (Besiktas), Anatoli Nankov, 28 (Locomotiv Sofia), Milen Petkov, 23 (CSKA Sofia), Ivailo Yordanov, 29 (Sporting Lisbon), Stoicho Stoilov (Litex), Daniel Borimirov, 27 (1860 Munich), Krassimir Balakov, 31 (VfB Stuttgart), Marian Hristov, 24 (Kaiserslautern)

Forwards: Hristo Stoichkov, 32 (CSKA), Emil Kostadinov, 30 (CSKA), Ilian Iliev, 29 (Bursaspor), Georgi Bachev, 22 (Slavia), Georgi Ivanov, 21 (Levski Sofia), Luboslav Penev, 31 (Compostela).

Who did not make it: Bonev axed goalkeeper Radostin Stanev, defender Petar Houbchev, midfielders Kostadin Vidolov and Ilia Grouev and striker Svetoslav Todorov from his provisional squad. G Dimitar Popov 27, F Hristo Yovov 20, F Georgi Donkov 27 who were also considered were not called up.

As expected, there was no late call-up for veteran midfielder Jordan Letchkov, who walked out on his Turkish club Besiktas in February and has not played since.

Bulgaria is in Group D in the first round of the World Cup, along with Spain, Nigeria and Paraguay.

Bonev's squad includes eight players who played in the U.S. four years ago when Bulgaria, who had not previously won a finals match, beat Germany to reach the semifinals.

Bonev left out goalkeeper Radostin Stanev after Borislav Mihailov recovered from injury, and midfielder Kostadin Vidolov from his provisional squad.

"(Borislav) Mihailov is fully fit to play. I cannot leave out an outfield player for the sake of having three goalkeepers," Bonev told reporters. Mihailov played an important part in the squad's 1994 success.

"Vidolov is a right-side midfielder and we already have too many players playing in that zone - Ilian Iliev, Daniel Borimirov and, in some tactical formations, Marian Hristov."

"Lyuboslav Penev is still working on an individual program but, apart from that, the squad which played against Kaiserslautern will be the backbone for the World Cup matches," Bonev said.

Comments? Additions? Predictions?



Ivailo Iordanov battling Ariel Crespo of Argentina




While surfing the net, it seems like this fellow keeps popping up whenever we searched for Bulgarian football...



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