After a dismal performance on Friday night in Prague, which saw the Czech Republic move level on points with England following a 2-1 victory over Gareth Southgate’s team, England’s players faced a trip to another eastern European hotspot, Sofia, for Monday night’s game against bottom of the table Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian team, beaten 4-0 by England just a month ago at Wembley, only managed a draw against Montenegro on Friday and they remain bottom of Group A. However, after England’s lacklustre performance on Friday night, the home fans will be hoping that they can pick up what would be their first ever win against England tonight. It all promises to be an interesting night and one which could, if results in other games go their way, see England qualify for Euro 2020.

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Let’s now take a look ahead to tonight’s game and this will include our top tips for the game.

Bulgaria v England

Group A Standings

  1. England* – 12 Points (+14)
  2. Czech Rep – 12 Points (+2)
  3. Kosovo* – 8 Points (0)
  4. Montenegro – 3 Points (-10)
  5. Bulgaria – 3 Points (-6)

*Teams marked with as Asterisk have played 5 games instead of 6. Goal Difference in brackets.

Group A Results from Friday

  • Czech Republic 2-1 England
  • Montenegro 0-0 Bulgaria

Group A Fixtures Remaining

Tonight

  • Bulgaria v England
  • Kosovo v Montenegro

Matchday 9 (14-16th Nov)

  • England v Montenegro
  • Czech Republic v Kosovo

Matchday 10 (17th – 19th Nov)

  • Bulgaria v Czech Republic
  • Kosovo v England

Qualification Status

  • A win for England tonight, plus if Kosovo fail to beat Montenegro at home would mean England qualify for Euro 2020.
  • Any other result for England would mean England, Czech Republic and Kosovo could all still qualify from the group, depending on the outcome of the remaining matches involving all three teams.
  • Bulgaria and Montenegro are already eliminated from qualifying contention.

England News

  • England’s loss to the Czech Republic on Friday was their first defeat in any European Championship or World Cup Qualification game since 2009.
  • Tyrone Mings is tipped to make his first start for England at centre half against Bulgaria, with Everton’s Michael Keane tipped to make way for the Aston Villa defender.
  • A win against Bulgaria would leave England needing a win against Montenegro next month to ensure they qualify either top or second of Group A. This is because their two rivals for qualification, Czech Republic and Kosovo must play each other on the same night England face Montenegro, so one or both of those teams may drop points.
  • England’s last trip to Bulgaria saw them emerge with a 3-0 victory in 2011. Gary Cahill and a brace from Wayne Rooney, all in the first half, handing England the victory.
  • England have no further injuries following the defeat in the Czech Republic, with press rumours that Southgate is set to make at least four and as many as six changes to the team beaten in Prague.

Bulgaria News

  • Bulgaria’s 0-0 draw in Montenegro keeps them bottom of the table due to their worst record against Montenegro.
  • Krasimir Balakov’s team will be without two defenders in Strahil Popov and Basil Bozhikov who both withdrew from the squad to face England due to injury following the Montenegro game.
  • Bulgaria are expected to revert to a defensice 4-5-1 formation, packing the midfield with a couple of naturalised Brazilian players in Wanderson and Marcelinho.
  • Bulgaria have never beaten England previously in 11 attempts, drawing four games with England winning the remaining seven.
  • Bulgaria have scored just twice against England in those games, once in 1968 in a 1-1 friendly draw, and once in 1999 in 1-1 draw in qualifying for the 2000 European Championships.
  • Bulgaria’s last victory was over a year ago, a 2-1 victory in the Nations League at home to Cyprus in October 2018. They have lost four of their last five games.

Bulgaria v England Prediction and Tips

After what was an extremely poor performance against the Czech Republic the last time out, England manager Gareth Southgate accepted the blame for his team’s poor showing and he looks set to make several changes for the game with Bulgaria, with speculation in the press that as many as five or six players could be changed for the game.

It seems almost certain Tyrone Mings will come in for Michael Keane in defence, with two other places in the back four set to change with Trent Alexander-Arnold set to come in for Kieran Trippier and Ben Chilwell set to deputise for the suspended Danny Rose.

Harry Winks could also get the nod ahead of Declan Rice, who was ill on Sunday, in midfield, while Ross Barkley, who scored twice against Bulgaria in October, could come in for Chelsea team-mate Mason Mount, while in attack Jadon Sancho may drop to the bench to allow Marcus Rashford into the team.

In truth, regardless of the team that Gareth Southgate puts out, it should be enough to gain what is now a vital three points for England in their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020. Certainly, they will want to have qualification in the bag before what looks like a tricky trip to Kosovo on the final matchday of qualifying.

Bulgaria though will be buoyed by England’s defeat in Prague and on home soil, they may feel an upset is possible, even though they will be missing two key defenders through injury for this game. Despite this, I still feel England will do enough to win.

Tips

  • England to win – 1/4
  • England to win 2-0 – 5/1
  • Raheem Sterling to Score first – 4/1