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site.bta100 Years Ago: Bulgaria's National Football Team Play Their First Match

100 Years Ago: Bulgaria's National Football Team Play Their First Match
100 Years Ago: Bulgaria's National Football Team Play Their First Match
Source: Bulgarian Football Union

One hundred years ago on Tuesday, Bulgaria's national team played their first match. The venue was Vienna's Simmeringer Had Stadium, the date was May 21, 1924, and the score was a 0-6 debacle against hosts Austria.

The setting up of a football team for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris topped the agenda of the constituent congress of the Bulgarian National Sports Federation (BNSF) (December 16-18, 1923). The team was a fact at the beginning of 1924, and 24-year-old Rapid Wien striker Leopold Nitch was selected as the first manager, recommended by renowned Austrian football coach and referee Hugo Meisl.

The initial lineup consisted of 22 players, recruited from Sofia and Varna, but six dropped out for logistical reasons.

The team set out for the Austrian capital on May 13, travelling by train from Sofia to Lom (on the Danube), where they boarded the paddle steamer Saturnus. En route, the footballers were welcomed by hundreds of fellow Bulgarians who expressed their support.  

Here is the starting lineup for the May 21 game: Petar "Werter" Ivanov, Aleksander "Shkubata" Hristov, Simeon "Simeto" Yankov, Geno Mateev, Boyan Byanov, Dimitar "Naydo" Manolov, Dimitar "Martso" Mutafchiev, Nikola "Kolishcheto" Mutafchiev, Tsvetan "Tseko" Genev, Konstantin "Dyavoleto" Maznikov, and Kiril "Vagonetkata" Jovovic. 

Of the first internationals, nine played for Levski, Manolov represented Slavia, and captain Byanov came from Ticha Varna. The Bulgarians confronted one of Europe's football superpowers which, combined with the lack of experience and excessive ambition, led to a 0-6 defeat for the visiting side.

The most important thing, however, was that Bulgaria already had a national team that debuted at the Olympic Games at the Colombes Stadium in the French capital on May 28. There, they lost after fierce resistance against the Irish Free State, 0-1.

Bulgaria scored their first goal in 1925 and achieved their first draw, against Turkey, in 1927. The first win, against Romania, came on October 12, 1930. 

The first bid to enter World Cup finals was in 1934, but it proved unsuccessful. Bulgaria's first entry in World Cup finals was in Chile in 1962. 

The BNFS was admitted to the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in 1924. A Central Football Committee was set up in 1944. It was renamed National Football Section in 1948, which was transformed into a Bulgarian Football Federation in 1962. Its successor, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), was established on June 27, 1985. It now represents the country in FIFA and UEFA.

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By 15:16 on 18.06.2024 Today`s news

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