20 Years from Bulgaria’s Memorable First World Cup Win

Krasimir Balakov in action for Bulgaria against Greece. Photo by Soccermond.com

June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria’s first ever win in a World Cup match, 4:0 against Greece.

Following a disappointing 0:3 loss to Nigeria in the first group match, the Bulgarians looked set for another lackluster campaign. But just then, the genius of Hristo Stoichkov came into play. With two goals in the 5th and 55th minutes, both from penalty kicks, the legendary number 8 gave his country a solid lead in Chicago.

Two more goals from Yordan Lechkov in the 65th and Daniel Borimirov in the 90th minute completed the memorable 4:0 score for Bulgaria and a first World Cup win.

This opened the door to a remarkable tournament. Wins against Argentina, Mexico, and reigning champions Germany were to follow. Coach Dimitar Penev’s team returned to Bulgaria as heroes, finishing in 4th place, and rightfully earned themselves the label “Golden Generation”.

Stoichkov became the 1994 World Cup top goalscorer and won the Golden Ball in the same year.

Highlights of the match Bulgaria – Greece 4:0.

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