Denmark – Bulgaria 26.03.2013
Denmark made amends for the slow start of the campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory in Czech Republic and they can now close the gap behind the second-placed Bulgaria. Their opponents hammered Malta in Friday, but are now in for a much more difficult task as they attempt to keep their qualifying hopes alive.
Denmark did themselves proud with their display at the Euro 2012, even if they failed to progress from the group of death, but victory over Netherlands and narrow defeats to Germany and Portugal further improved the good atmosphere in the team. Denmark, however, did not have such a good start to the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, sharing spoils with Czech Republic and Bulgaria before losing to Italy, but they then showed a massive improvement to record a 3-0 away win over the Czechs and effectively returned to the race for the second place in the group. The hosts are now expected to build on that result against very inexperienced Bulgaria side, with the return of important midfielder William Kvist acting as another confidence boost. Andreas Cornelius scored on Friday to prove he can successfully replace Nicklas Bentdner up front and he is again set to lead the line.
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Bulgaria have been on a major downtrend over the last decade, with bottom-placed finish in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign something that national team chiefs will attempt to forget as soon as possible. Boss Luboslav Penev has finally decided to rejuvenate his squad, and while that means that young and talented footballers have now received a chance to shine, the lack of experience is likely to cost the team dearly in clashes with some of Europe’s top sides. Dimitar Berbatov, Martin Petrov and Stiliyan Petrov are no longer part of the squad, but the new players are showing some signs of promise. Bulgaria enjoyed a good start to the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, but their 2-3-0 record is a result of an easy fixture list rather than anything else. With none of the players in the squad plying their trade in one of Europe’s top clubs, Bulgaria clearly face a mountain to climb in Kobenhavn.