Football Predictions

England v Bulgaria preview, predictions & possible XIs

By Ben Green

Published: 18:40, 5 September 2019

England play host to Bulgaria in their third Euro 2020 Group A qualifier this weekend.

After kicking off their campaign in March, Gareth Southgate’s side have been made to wait six months for their next Euro 2020 qualifying match as they took part in the Nations League earlier this summer, but the Three Lions still boast a seat atop of the group.

Bulgaria meanwhile find themselves in a bit of a quandary, having played four matches but picked up only two points, meaning a result against the Three Lions looks essential at this stage.

Read on for our predictions, key players, TV info and team news ahead of England v Bulgaria.

When is England v Bulgaria and where can I watch live? 

Competition: Euro 2020 qualifiers

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Date: Saturday, 7 September 2019

Kick-off: 5:00 PM BST

TV coverage (UK): ITV1

Last five meetings: England v Bulgaria

02 Sep 2011: Bulgaria 0-3 England (Euro qualifier)

03 Sep 2010: England 4-0 Bulgaria (Euro qualifier)

09 Jun 1999: Bulgaria 1-1 England (Euro qualifier)

10 Oct 1998: England 0-0 Bulgaria (Euro qualifier)

27 Mar 1996: England 1-0 Bulgaria (International friendly)

Aggregate Score: England (WWDDW) 9-1 Bulgaria (LLDDL)

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Ones to watch

England: James Maddison

Quite how James Maddison hasn’t received an England cap just yet seems absurd when you consider his frightening exploits from last season, finishing his maiden Premier League campaign having created the most chances in the division, as well as being the only player to hit triple digits in that department (100). That innate ability to continuously unlock doors and find openings is a rare phenomenon on these shores, so the Leicester City talisman’s inclusion seems more than fitting, especially when considering the attacking talent that could line up in front of him.

Key stat: No Leicester City player has created more chances than James Maddison in the Premier League this season (9).

Bulgaria: Ivelin Popov

Popov has shared the field with some of Bulgaria’s finest players over the years, including Dimitar Berbatov, Stiliyan Petrov and Martin Petrov. These days the talent pool isn’t quite Hristo Stoichkov in his pomp, but in Popov – the nation’s eighth-highest capped player – the Lions have a very experienced, deadly and versatile forward, capable of causing England’s backline numerous problems.

Key stat: Across his career Popov has netted five goals in Euro qualifiers, more than any other international format.

Team news


Southgate called up four uncapped players to his senior squad for this month’s contests, but has already seen one pull out due to a back injury. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has withdrawn from international duty, but Southgate has already disclosed that Kyle Walker will not be called up despite facing backlash over the Man City full-back’s omission.

Predicted XI: Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Keane, Chilwell; Rice, Winks, Henderson; Sterling, Sancho, Kane. 

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Head coach Krasimir Balakov faces no injury concerns heading into the match, but like Southgate, has opted to include a number of uncapped players in his squad, including 37-year-old goalkeeper Hristo Ivanov.

Predicted XI: Iliev; Popov, Nedyalkov, Bozhikov, Goranov; Milanov, Slavchev, Popov, Sarmov; Ivanov, Despodov.

Squawka prediction

At the risk of sounding conceited this should be a game that England steamroll, especially on home territory. Southgate has an abundance of world class talent to tinker around with, while those yet to earn a first cap will take to the Wembley turf with a point to prove – should they be given an opportunity. Upsets are, of course, a possibility with England, but Bulgaria have looked horrendous during these qualifiers, and so, this probably won’t be the match where their fortunes change.

Scoreline prediction: England 4-0 Bulgaria