After the embarrassing campaign in South Africa, England’s World Cup flops will be hoping to bounce back by securing qualification for the European Championship finals in Poland and Ukraine.
The aftermath of the World Cup has seen the English side heavily criticised by both pundits and supporters, and with good cause. The “Golden Generation” of English football were abysmal during their games in South Africa and were very fortunate to even get out of the group stages. An embarrassing 0-0 draw with Algeria was a major low point.
Their 4-2 defeat against Germany was one they could not argue about even if they did play the ” ball was over the line” card.
The level of Expectation in England is one of the highest in the World. When the national team fails, the supporters expect answers.
Following a less than convincing 2-1 friendly victory over Hungary, the England side hasn’t done much to make fans think the side is improving. They will be hoping to regain the faith of the supporters by claiming six points against Bulgaria and Switzerland over the next week.
So, lets look at England vs Bulgaria, which will be played at Wembley Stadium on Friday, Semptember 3rd:
The home side will be without Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch while John Terry is very doubtful. Michael Dawson and Matthew Upson are set to deputise int the centre of defence. Theo Walcott is set to return to the England first-team following his omission from the World Cup squad during the summer. Wayne Rooney should partner Jermaine Defoe in attack as the side will once again start in a 4-4-2 formation.
Following Dimitar Berbatov’s retirement from International football, Bulgaria are a little light in attacking options. However, Valeri Bojinov has looked like a new player following his move from Manchester City to Parma. He will prove a testing figure for the English back-line. Martin and Stiliyan Petrov are both fit to pull the strings in the centre of midfield.
Possible starting line-ups:
England: Hart, Cole, Dawson, Upson, Johnson, Milner, Gerrard, Barry, Walcott, Rooney, Defoe
Bulgaria: Mihaylov, Manolev, Ivanov, Stoyanov, Minev, Angelov, Yankov, M. Petrov, S. Petrov, Bojinov, Popov
Prediction: England 2-0 Bulgaria
England are going to find that Bulgaria are no push-overs. They have a big test ahead of them and the longer it takes the home side to break down the visitors, the more frustrating it will get for the hosts. An early goal could lead to a comfortable victory for England, but if the Bulgarians play the defensive game properly, we may hear the boo-boys again before too long.