Euro 96 wasn't as successful for the Bulgarian national football team as World Cup 94,but it will still be remembered in Bulgarian football history.Bulgaria qualified for the first time to European Cup Finals.With his three goals from three matches Hristo Stoichkov brought Bulgaria its first ever win in European Cup finals.However the four points these three goals brought the country weren't enough for qualifying for the quarterfinals.
But what we will never forget,is that brilliant goal of Hristo Stoichkov versus Romania.
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) -- Hristo Stoichkov's early strike and an equalizer that didn't count made Romania the first team to be eliminated from the European
soccer championship Thursday as Bulgaria triumphed 1-0.
Soccer genius Stoichkov scored a stunning third-minute goal for his second in the tournament. But there was further disaster for the talented Romanians when
Dorinel Munteanu appeared to have scored with a shot that crossed the line after hitting the underside of the crossbar.
But the spinning ball bounced back onto the field and, although TV replays showed it was a goal, the referee and linesman had only one glimpse of the action and
ruled it had not crossed the line.
If it had counted, the Romanians would have tied 1-1. But the result, its second loss after a 1-0 defeat by France, means that even a victory over Spain would not
be enough to keep them in the competition.
The rules dictate that if the Romanians wound up with the same points as the French, the head-to-head results would decide who advanced.
Stoichkov's goal was a solo gem.
Teammates to his left and right made runs which pulled Romanian defenders out of position and Stoichkov was quick to see the opportunity.
Instead of passing, he darted into a space in the centre, held off two defenders in a 30-yard run and almost casually prodded a left-footed shot inside the right-hand
Goalkeeper Bogdan Stelea, whose blunder handed France the winning goal on Monday, got his fingers on the shot but couldn't stop the ball going into the net.
Thursday's game was a meeting of two of the most experienced teams in the competitions. The Bulgarian starting lineup averaged 45 appearances a player and the
Romanians 50 and the wealth of experience made for a fascinating and entertaining game at Newcastle's St. James Park Stadium.
Bulgaria -- Borislav Mikhailov; Tsanko Tsvetanov, Trifon Ivanov, Radostin Kishishev, Ivailo Yordanov, Zlatko Yankov, Yordan Letchkov (substitute Boncho
Genchev, 90th minute), Krasimir Balakov, Luboslav Penev (Nasko Sirakov, 71), Emil Kostadinov (Daniel Borimirov, 32), Hristo Stoichkov.
Romania -- Bogdan Stelea; Dan Petrescu, Miodrag Belodedici, Tibor Selymes, Daniel Prodan, Ioan Lupescu (Costel Galca, 45), Gheorghe Popescu (Adrian Ilie,
77th), Gheorghe Hagi, Dorinel Munteanu, Marius Lacatus (Viorel Moldovan, 28), Florin Raducioiu.
Referee -- Peter Mikkelsen, Denmark.
booked: Kishishev, Tzvetanov
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