Bulgaria vs Italy: Time, Live Stream, TV Info & Preview 2014 World Cup Qualifier
Italy and Bulgaria will continue their quests to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as they face off in a qualifier.
This will be the opening round of matches for teams in UEFA Group B, which includes Denmark, Czech Republic, Armenia and Malta in addition to the Italians and Bulgarians.
Here is everything you need to know about the match.
Where: Sofia, Bulgaria
When: Friday, September 7, 2:45 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: ESPN3
Bulgaria Roster (via Bulgarian National Team Website):
Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (Twente Hall), Vladislav Stoyanov (Sheriff Mall), Bojan Peykov (Lokomotiv Sofia)
Defenders: van Ivanov (Alania, Russia), Zivko Milanov (Vaslui, Room), Valentin Iliev (Universitatea Craiova Room), Veselin Minev (Levski), Jordan Miliev (Levski), Paul Vidanovo (CSKA), Nicholas Bodurov (Litex), Peter Zanev (Litex)
Midfielders: Chavdar Yankov (Rostov, Russia), Daniel Dimov (Black Sea), Georgi Peev (Amkar, Russia), Nikolay Dimitrov (Kasimpasa, Tour), Stanislav Angelov (Steaua, Room), Stiliyan Petrov (Aston Villa ENG), Blagoy Georgiev (Terek, Rus)
Forwards: Dimitar Rangelov (Maccabi Tel Aviv PPI), Martin Petrov (Bolton, ENG), Ivelin Popov (Gaziantep, Turkey), Dimitar Makriev (Ashdod PPI), Sportalbg (Hertha Berlin, GER), Tsvetan Genkov (Lokomotiv Sofia)
Italy Roster (via ESPN FC):
Goalkeepers: Buffon (Juventus), De Sanctis (Napoli), Sirigu (Paris St. Germain), Viviano (Fiorentina)
Defenders: Astori (Cagliari), Balzaretti (Roma), Barzagli (Juventus), Bonucci (Juventus), Cassani (Fiorentina), Maggio (Napoli), Ogbonna (Torino)
Midfielders: De Rossi (Roma), Diamanti (Bologna), Giaccherini (Juventus), Marchisio (Juventus), Nocerino (Milan), Pirlo (Juventus), Poli (Sampdoria), Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
Strikers: Borini (Liverpool), Destro (Roma), Giovinco (Juventus), Insigne (Napoli), Osvaldo (Roma), Pazzini (Milan)
Italy was the runner-up at the European Championships earlier this summer, and the team will hope to be successful in its next major tournament as well.
The Azzurri made a surprise run to the finals in Poland and Ukraine, but they will be without several players who played an important role during the Euro 2012.
Mario Balotelli was the team’s biggest star with three goals during the tournament, including two in a semifinal victory over Germany, but he will miss the match due to eye surgery.
The stable of strikers for Cesare Prandelli will be completely different, as Antonio Cassano and Antonio Di Natale are both in their thirties and have made way for a younger generation of goal scorers.
Which team has the best chance for a surprising finish ahead of Italy in Group B?
Liverpool’s Fabio Borini is a promising talent, and AC Milan’s Giampaolo Pazzini earned a spot in the squad after netting three goals against Bologna.
For the Bulgarians, they will be without Dimitar Berbatov—their most well-known player. Berbatov had not played for his country since 2009, and declined to answer the call to take the pitch against the Italians, as noted by Reuters.
The Italians look to be the powerhouse in Group B as Bulgaria will likely struggle to land in one of the top two spots and advance past this stage.
The difference in class between the two sides will be apparent in the match.
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