Preview: Romania vs. Bulgaria – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Romania vs. Bulgaria – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Romania and Bulgaria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Romania will play the first of their two pre-Euro 2024 friendly matches on Tuesday evening, with Bulgaria their opponents at Stadionul Steaua in Bucharest.

The home team will begin their European Championship campaign against Ukraine on June 17, while Bulgaria are next in competitive action at the start of September in the UEFA Nations League.

Match preview

© Reuters

Romania qualified for Euro 2024 as Group I winners, with an impressive campaign seeing them pick up 22 points from their 10 matches to finish five points ahead of second-placed Switzerland in the section.

The Tricolours failed to qualify for Euro 2020, but they were present at Euro 2016, failing to make it through the group stage, while their best-ever performance at the competition came in 2000, making the final eight.

Not too much is expected of Romania this summer, but their results during qualification were impressive, and they should certainly be competitive in Group E at Euro 2024 alongside Ukraine, Belgium and Slovakia.

Edward Iordanescu‘s side have drawn with Northern Ireland and lost to Colombia in their last two friendlies, and they will take on Liechtenstein in their final pre-Euro 2024 warm-up fixture on June 7, with the match coming 10 days before their tournament opener against Ukraine.

Romania are actually winless in their last five matches against Bulgaria, with their last success over Tuesday’s opponents coming back in May 1989.

Bulgaria coach Ilian Iliev before the match on November 16, 2023© Reuters

Bulgaria, meanwhile, have not been present at the finals of a European Championship since 2004, missing out in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020 and now 2024.

Ilian Iliev‘s side failed to record a win during their qualification campaign for this summer’s tournament, and it is now 20 years since the national team last played in a major competition.

The Lions will bring a four-game unbeaten run into this match, though, including a 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan in their last friendly fixture at the end of March.

Bulgaria will take on Slovenia in another friendly on June 8 and will then not be back in action until the start of September, tackling Belarus in the UEFA Nations League.

Tuesday’s meeting will be the first time that Romania and Bulgaria have locked horns since November 2007, when the latter recorded a 1-0 victory in their qualification fixture for Euro 2008.

Romania friendly form:

Romania form (all competitions):

Bulgaria friendly form:

Bulgaria form (all competitions):

Team News

Switzerland's Zeki Amdouni in action with Romania's Radu Dragusin on June 19, 2023© Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur’s Radu Dragusin is in line to win his 16th cap for Romania in this match, with the 22-year-old set to operate in the middle of the home side’s defence.

Empoli’s Razvan Marin and Parma’s Dennis Man are also likely to be included, while there could be a spot in a wide position for Florinel Coman.

George Puscas has scored 11 times in 41 appearances for the national side, and the Bari forward should be in the XI, while Denis Alibec is also in line to feature in the final third of the field.

As for Bulgaria, head coach Iliev is expected to experiment when it comes to his squad, with the national side looking ahead to their UEFA Nations League campaign.

St Johnstone’s Dimitar Mitov could be given the nod between the sticks, while Leeds United’s Ilia Gruev is also in line to start for the visitors in this match.

Kiril Despodov is the captain and leading goalscorer in the squad with 13, and the PAOK forward is set to operate in the final third of the field once again.

Romania possible starting lineup:
Nita; Bancu, Burca, Dragusin, Nedelcearu; Stanciu, R Marin, Man; Coman, Puscas, Alibec

Bulgaria possible starting lineup:
Mitov; Antov, Nedyalkov, Atanasov, Popov; Gruev, Kostadinov, Krastev; Delev, Despodov, Kirilov

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We say: Romania 1-0 Bulgaria

Bulgaria are capable of making this a tricky match for Romania, and we are not expecting too many goals in Tuesday’s international friendly. Romania can call upon the greater quality, though, and we are therefore predicting a narrow home success here.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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