Football / World Cup USA '94: Bulgarians' elation

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THOUSANDS of happy Bulgarians crowded the streets of Sofia, the capital, in the early hours of yesterday to celebrate the 2-0 victory over Argentina in the World Cup.

The cheering fans flooded the streets about 4.30am, local time, immediately after the television TV broadcast of the game was over. They flew national banners and chanted: 'Bulgarians-Heroes' and 'Bulgaria-Champion'. Some cruised the streets with their car horns blasting. State radio regularly repeated the refrain from a popular the song, 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' throughout Fridaythe day. Zhelyu Zhelev, the president, congratulated the team on the radio. Lyuben Berov, the Premier, and the parliament speaker, Alexander Yordanov, cabled congratulations as well., the state news agency BTA said.

Bulgaria's victory was a surprise even to its most ardent fans. supporters. 'Frankly speaking, I did not expect more than a draw against Argentina, who have been world champions twice,' said Stefan Ivanov, a soccer aficionado, fan, said. 'But now everybody saw we have a world-class team.'

'Our tactic was to curb the onrush of the Argentines, who remain a great team even without Maradona,' BTA quoted Dimitear Penev, the Bulgarian coach, as saying. said. Maradona was kicked out of the tournament withdrawn from the Argentine squad for using a banned substances.

Bulgaria's next match is against Mexico in the second round and will be played in a second round game July 5 on Tuesday at East Rutherford, New Jersey.