Football / World Cup USA '94: Bulgaria victorious at last

Bulgaria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Greece. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

A BANNER in the crowd at Soldier Field boasted: 'Greece, Still Making History' - a reference to their overdue debut in the World Cup - but the only breakthrough yesterday belonged to Bulgaria.

The Bulgarians arrived in the United States with the wretched record of 10 defeats and six draws to show for five previous visits to the finals. They promptly added to the litany of failure against Nigeria, so the euphoria with which their tiny band of followers greeted the final whistle was understandable.

This was not, it must be said, the triumph of attacking football that the scoreline suggests. The first two goals came from the penalty spot, allowing Hristo Stoichkov to open his account for the tournament, while Greece were a demoralised rabble by the time Yordan Lechkov and Daniel Borimirov doubled the advantage.

Greece ought to have been at home amid the neo-classical architecture of the Chicago Bears' stadium. Like Boston, where they had lost by the same margin to Argentina, the city has a big Greek- American population, and around nine-tenths of 63,160 spectators seemed to be shouting for 'Hellas'. This team, alas, is beyond help.

Their coach, Alketas Panagoulias, had rung the changes but it made scant difference. Having conceded a goal to Gabriel Batistuta inside two minutes at Foxboro, they had survived barely 180 seconds longer when Alexandros Alexoudis needlessly handled a header by Zlatko Yankov. Stoichkov dispatched the spot-kick to Ilias Atmatzidis's right.

The hapless Greek goalkeeper, a rival to Colombia's Oscar Cordoba as the worst in the competition, gave Bulgaria the goal which eased their historical burden by rashly grabbing Nasko Sirakov 10 minutes after the interval. This time Stoichkov sent the ball to his left. Lechkov made it three in the 66th minute after a one- two with Yankov had exposed Greece's static defence. Borimirov, on as a substitute, then gave Bulgaria a fighting chance of reaching the second phase by further improving their goal difference when Atmatzidis obligingly spilled Stoichkov's free-kick his way in injury time.

Dimitar Penev, Bulgaria's chain-smoking coach, said afterwards that victory would give his team 'joy and self-assurance'. It might also advance his own career, he added, but for Greece and their fans it was another day for rueful retreat.

BULGARIA (4-3-3): Mikhailov (Mulhouse); Kremenliev, Hubchev (both Levski Sofia), Ivanov (Neuchatel Xamax), Zvetanov (Levski Sofia); Lechkov (Hamburg), Yankov (Levski Sofia), Balakov (Sporting Lisbon); Kostadinov (Porto), Sirakov (Levski Sofia), Stoichkov (Barcelona). Substitutes: Kiryakov (Lerida) for Zvetanov, 77; Borimirov (Levski Sofia) for Kostadinov, 81.

GREECE (1-3-4-2): Atmatzidis (AEK Athens); Karataidis (Olympiakos); Apostolakis, Kalitzakis (both Panathinaikos), Karayannis (AEK Athens); Hantzidis (Olympiakos), Marangos, Nioplias (both Panathinaikos), Kofidis (Aris Salonika); Machlas (OFI Crete), Alexoudis (Panathinaikos). Substitutes: Mitropoulos (AEK Athens) for Hantzidis, h-t; Dimitriadis (AEK Athens) for Alexoudis, 58.

Referee: Ali Mohamed Bujsaim (United Arab Emirates).

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn