Bulgaria star eyes progress

Nikolay Mihaylov is in confident mood ahead of Bulgaria's clash against Malta, as the Czech Republic host Denmark on Friday.

Last Updated: 21/03/13 at 16:10 Post Comment

Nikolay Mihaylov: Hoping to follow in his father's footsteps

Nikolay Mihaylov: Hoping to follow in his father's footsteps

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Goalkeeper Mihaylov is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father and help Bulgaria qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.

Borislav Mihaylov, now president of the Bulgarian Football Union, was captain of the side that beat Germany to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1994.

He was also in the squad four years later when Bulgaria qualified for the finals in France, and 15 years on that remains the last time they made that stage.

Hopes are high, though, after an unbeaten start to their Group B campaign

that sees them head into Friday's clash with pointless Malta second in the table behind Italy.

Mihaylov junior has established himself as the number one thanks to impressive form for his club side, FC Twente in Holland, and he told www.fifa.com: "It was difficult to cope with when I was young because everybody inevitably compared me to my dad.

"It was once I moved abroad that I was really able to step out of my father's shadow by putting in a lot of work and making sacrifices. But it's an honour to share the same name, especially as things are very different today."

Luboslav Penev was another of the stars of the previous generation and he is playing a key role in this campaign as manager of the national side.

Nikolay Mihaylov said: "My father's generation was rich in great players. Most of them were lucky enough to play in leagues in western Europe.

"They picked up experience over there and achieved better results when they came back to the national team.

"But there's also talent in my generation right now and, with Luboslav Penev in charge, we have a good team that has every chance of qualifying for the next World Cup in Brazil."

Bulgaria will expect to take maximum points on Friday but they will have to do so without the help of the fans, with the team ordered to play behind closed doors after supporters were found guilty by FIFA of racist behaviour against Denmark in October.

Penev said: "Although my players are professionals, it will not be easy to cope with the absence of the 12th player."

Friday's other match in Group B sees the Czech Republic take on Denmark, who desperately need the points having accumulated only two from their first three games.

The Danes will be without striker Nicklas Bendtner after he was banned from the national team for six months following his conviction for drink driving.

The Czech Republic have only managed one win so far, over Malta, and goalkeeper Petr Cech has his sights set on trebling that tally against Denmark and Armenia, who the Czechs visit on Tuesday.

Cech, who should win his 100th cap against Armenia, said: "If we were to get six points, the table would look 100 per cent better."

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

A

pparently Chiles has blamed Twitter trolls for his exit. Proof that even the worst things can get great results at times.

cheshire-gooner
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

Footer 365

Andrea Pirlo: Pogba not going back to Manchester United

Andrea Pirlo says that Manchester United must 'live with their mistake' of allowing Paul Pogba to leave because he is never coming back.

Gary Lineker could host BT Sport's Champions League coverage

Gary Lineker has held talks with BT Sport about presenting their Champions League coverage next season.

Contract news: Robin van Persie unsure if he will be offered new Manchester United deal

Robin van Persie says he has no idea if he will be offered a new contract at Manchester United.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company