Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Ireland will be aiming to make amends for a 1-0 loss to Wales when they take on Bulgaria at Aviva Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Boys in Green have been struggling in this edition of the UEFA Nations League, with the team collecting no more than two points in the process. However, it seems as if Ireland will not have a better chance than this to return to winning ways as they play host the rock-bottom side.
Jeff Hendrick is suspended for the hosts after he was sent off in the defeat to Wales. Bulgaria suffered a 2-1 defeat to Finland at the weekend, with the team extending their losing run in Group 4 to four games. Considering that the Bulgarians are low on confidence ahead of the trip to Dublin, we are tempted to put our money on Stephen Kenny’s troops.
Highlighted Player (Shane Long):
Shane Long is an Irish international striker who has so far made over 60 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team, scoring more than 15 goals in the process. The forward began his professional career at Cork City, but only made one league appearance for the club ahead of the switch to Reading, where he would go on to spend next seven years.
During that time, Long established himself as one of the best Irish strikers plying their trade in England, and also went on to represent West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Southampton.
Despite not exactly boasting an enviable goalscoring record for a centre forward, Long was always held in high regard by both managers and his peers, with his incredible work rate and never-say-die attitude winning him plenty of admirers. Long will also go down as one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the Republic of Ireland national team, which he represented at the Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 finals.
Highlighted Team (Bulgaria):
Bulgaria national football team are well known for their “Golden generation” of players led by Hristo Stoichkov. The Bulgarian football legend was producing thrilling performances for the national team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in USA and he helped the Lions make it to the semi-finals of the tournament.
The likes of Trifon Ivanov, Krasimir Balakov and Yordan Letchkov enjoyed a very successful tournament as well and, no doubt, they recorded a historical result at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The Bulgarians defeated Germany in the quarter-finals, but Italy proved to be a big catch for Dimitar Penev’s team. Bulgaria eventually suffered a heavy loss to Sweden in the third-place playoffs. Nowadays, Bulgaria struggle in qualifiers for major tournaments and it has to be noted that they have not participated at the finals since 1994.
Vasil Levski National Stadium is considered Bulgaria’s home ground and the capacity of the stadium is 43.320. Bulgaria wear white shirts, green shorts and white socks when playing at home, whilst green and red are their second colours.