SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria coach Luboslav Penev has included three uncapped players in his 25-man squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Denmark, the domestic football union (BFU) said on Thursday.
The domestic-based trio of Slavia Sofia defender Radoslav Dimitrov, Litex Lovech’s teenage midfielder Simeon Slavchev and Botev Plovdiv striker Todor Nedelev, who turned 20 last month, have been given the chance of winning a first cap at home to Malta on March 22 and away to Denmark four days later.
Bulgaria will play Malta at the Vasil Levski stadium behind closed doors after their fans were found guilty by FIFA of racist behaviour in the qualifier against Denmark in October.
Unbeaten Bulgaria have made a solid start to their campaign and are second in Group B with six points from four matches, four behind leaders Italy. Czech Republic are third with five points from three games.
Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (Twente Enschede), Vladislav Stoyanov (Ludogorets), Plamen Iliev (Levski Sofia)
Defenders: Pavel Vidanov (Zaglebie Lubin), Petar Zanev (Volin Lutsk), Yordan Minev (Ludogorets), Radoslav Dimitrov (Slavia Sofia), Nikolay Bodurov (Litex Lovech), Iliya Milanov (Litex Lovech), Ivan Ivanov (Partizan Belgrade), Veselin Minev (Botev Plovdiv)
Midfielders: Georgi Sarmov (Kasimpasa), Stanislav Manolev (Fulham), Vladimir Gadzhev (Levski Sofia), Svetoslav Dyakov (Ludogorets), Georgi Iliev (Cherno More Varna), Georgi Milanov (Litex Lovech), Hristo Zlatinski (Lokomotiv Plovdiv), Simeon Slavchev (Litex Lovech), Emil Gargorov (Ludogorets)
Forwards: Ivelin Popov (Kuban Krasnodar), Valeri Bojinov (Vicenza), Iliyan Mitsanski (Ingolstadt), Alexander Tonev (Lech Poznan), Todor Nedelev (Botev Plovdiv)
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Toby Davis)