Bulgaria's Petrov, Bojinov Out of Squad for Qualifiers
Bulgaria will go to the opening 2014 World Cup qualifiers, at home against Italy on September 7 and Armenia four days later, without two of its top players – Bolton winger Martin Petrov and former Sporting Lisbon forward Valeri Bojinov.
Coach Lyuboslav Penev didn't spell out his arguments for dropping Petrov when announcing the line-up of the team for the upcoming games, but local media saw it as a sign the experienced player will soon put an end to his long international career.
Former Parma and Sporting Lisbon striker Valeri Bojinov, who never made a secret of his negative feelings for the former coach and vowed never to wear the Bulgarian shirt while Matthaeus is in charge, was back for the previous games of the team, but not now.
Bulgaria is also without Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, who was diagnosed recently with acute leukemia and is currently undergoing treatment.
Former captain Dimitar Berbatov will also be missing even though media reports said the famous striker was considering a comeback to Bulgaria's national side.
The Bulgarian quit the national football team on May 13 2010, leaving his tally for Bulgaria standing at the record 48 goals from 77 matches.
Bulgaria have been drawn in qualifying Group B together with Denmark, Czech Republic and Malta.
Following is the line-up of the team for the qualifiers:
Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (Twente Enschede), Stoyan Kolev (Chernomorets Burgas), Vladislav Stoyanov (Sherif Tiraspol)
Defenders: Yordan Minev (Ludogorets), Nikolay Bodurov (Litex Lovech), Iliya Milanov (Litex Lovech), Ivan Ivanov (Partizan Belgrade), Alexander Alexandrov (Cherno More Varna), Petar Zanev (Volin Lutsk), Veselin Minev (Antalyaspor)
Midfielders: Svetoslav Dyakov (Ludogorets), Vladimir Gadzhev (Levski Sofia), Georgi Sarmov (Kasimpasa), Boris Galchev (Dinamo Bucharest), Georgi Milanov (Litex Lovech), Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven), Emil Gargorov (Ludogorets)
Forwards: Ivelin Popov (Kuban Krasnodar), Ivan Stoyanov (Ludogorets), Iliyan Mitsanski (Kaiserlsautern), Alexander Tonev (Lech Poznan) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Mark Meadows)