Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
After failing to spoil Italy’s party at Stadio Ennio Tardini, Northern Ireland will be looking to give fans some cheer when they take on Bulgaria in Belfast. The Green and White Army produce much better displays at home than on the travels, but keep in mind that Wednesday’s game will be played behind closed doors. Boss Ian Baraclough rested several first-team regulars in a friendly defeat to USA, but he is likely to field the best possible side against Bulgaria.
Yasen Petrov’s troops, on the other hand, failed to impress in back-to-back defeats to Switzerland (1-3) and Italy (0-2), and we do not believe that they are capable of grabbing something from the Windsor Park clash. You should bear in mind that Northern Ireland are eyeing their first win over Bulgaria since 1979 when the two teams met in the EURO 98 qualifiers.
Highlighted Player (Steven Davis):
Born in Ballymena on 1 January 1985, Steven Davis is probably the most famous Northern Irish footballer of the 21st century, and he was one of team’s youngest ever captains, having been awarded the armband just over a year after making his debut for the national team.
The combative midfielder has spent his entire career up to date in the UK, enjoying successful spells with Aston Villa, Fulham, Rangers and Southampton, while representing the country of his birth at various youth levels before getting a chance to shine at the biggest stage.
Davis soon established himself as a leader of the Northern Ireland football team, missing just a handful of competitive fixtures since making his debut in 2005. The central midfielder scored 2 goals to help the national team finally secure their place at a major tournament, with an impressive Euro 2016 qualifying campaign likely to remain fresh in the minds of both the players and fans alike in years to come.
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.