England will be looking for an immediate response to the humbling 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic when they visit Bulgaria for a Euro 2020 qualification showdown in Sofia.
The 2018 World Cup semi-finalists suffered a rare qualifying defeat, their first since 2009, on Friday night as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the Czech capital.
A win for Gareth Southgate’s men on Tuesday will secure their passage into next summer’s tournament. Bulgaria, meanwhile, will be looking to end a three-match winless streak in front of their supporters.
Can the Three Lions secure a Euro 2020 berth? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Bulgaria vs England and where can I watch live?
Competition: Euro 2020 qualifier
Venue: Stadion Vasil Levski
Date: Monday, 14 October 2019
Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST
TV coverage (UK): ITV1
Last five meetings: Bulgaria vs England
07 Sep 2019: England 4-0 Bulgaria (Euro 2020 qualifier)
02 Sep 2011: Bulgaria 0-3 England (Euro 2012 qualifier)
03 Sep 2010: England 4-0 Bulgaria (Euro 2012 qualifier)
09 Jun 1999: Bulgaria 1-1 England (Euro 2000 qualifier)
10 Oct 1998: England 0-0 Bulgaria (Euro 2000 qualifier)
Aggregate Score: Bulgaria (LLLDD) 1-12 England (WWWDD)
Ones to watch
Bulgaria: Ivelin Popov
Ivelin Popov, who captains Bulgaria, turns 32 later this month. He’s one of nine players in Krasimir Balakov’s current squad who are over 30, but he’s the most experienced having accumulated 87 international caps to date. The Rostov-based forward is also their leading scorer, and has previously netted in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. If anyone can trouble England then he’s the most likely candidate.
Key stat: Popov has scored more goals for Bulgaria (16) than his current squadmates combined (11).
England: Raheem Sterling
Hardly anyone enhanced their reputation in England’s lacklustre defeat at the hands of Czech Republic, but Raheem Sterling was threatening every time he got on the ball. It quickly transpired he was the Three Lions’ most realistic way to goal and given the irresistible form he’s in you wouldn’t bet against him adding to his six previous strikes in Euro 2020 qualification on Tuesday.
Key stat: Sterling has scored more goals for England in his last nine games (8) than across his previous 45 matches (2).
Bulgaria, chasing a first win in this qualification cycle, have no injuries or suspensions coming into the showdown with England. Manager Balakov, who has seen his side register five goals across their previous six matches, is likely to retain the same XI from their recent goalless draw with Montenegro.
Predicted XI: Iliev; Pashov, Dimitrov, Zanev, Nedyalkov; Popov; Ivanov, Malinov, Marcelinho, Wanderson; Kraev.
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Danny Rose serves a one-match suspension after picking up a yellow in England’s humbling loss in Prague meaning Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell is in line to receive his ninth international cap. Tyrone Mings is expected to get his first cap for England while Joe Gomez could feature. Declan Rice missed training on Monday due to illness meaning Harry Winks could get the chance in midfield.
Elsewhere, Southgate has a choice between Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in attack. Switching to a back three has also been discussed as a possible tactical route for the England boss to take which is likely to mean Maguire lines up with Gomez and Mings at the back.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Trippier, Maguire, Mings, Chilwell; Henderson, Barkley, Winks; Sterling, Kane, Sancho.
Questions were asked of England in the immediate aftermath of their first competitive non-tournament defeat since 2009, but there’s too much quality at Southgate’s disposal for them to fall to another loss. Bulgaria will hope to feed on any possible anxiety, however, the gap in class means the Three Lions should run out victors and be able to start planning their Euro 2020 preparations.
Scoreline prediction: Bulgaria 0-2 England