In their seven appearances in the FIFA World Cup™, Bulgaria have recorded only one significant success. The Europeans have been eliminated five times in the first round and reached the last 16 once in 1986, where they were defeated by hosts Mexico.
Their greatest triumph came at USA 1994, where 72,000 fans watched them dispatch defending champions Germany in the quarter-final with a sensational 2-1 victory in New York's Giants Stadium. Goals from the supremely gifted Hristo Stoitchkov and Jordan Letchkov secured the team a semi-final spot and marked the pinnacle of achievement in the country's football history.
Before 1994, the Bulgarians had won none of their 16 games in FIFA World Cup finals. However, the Bulgarian campaign ended with defeat at the hands of Italy in the semi-final, and in the play-off for third place they went down 4-0 to Sweden.
Bulgaria enjoyed mixed fortunes in their Germany 2006 qualifying campaign. Despite recording a credible four wins and three draws from their ten matches, they finished a full nine points behind eventual Group 8 qualifiers Croatia and Sweden. Bulgaria also acted as the bridesmaid for Romania and Netherlands in their quest to reach UEFA EURO 2008.
Stanimir Stoilov, appointed as coach after they drew their opening three matches in South Africa 2010 qualifying, will strive to return the Bulgarians to the biggest stage in international football.