With injuries and suspensions from the Sweden game just four days earlier, England brought in newcomers to the senior side in the form of Michael Gray and Jonathan Woodgate for this important Euro 2000 qualifying game. To stand a chance, however slim it might be, of automatic qualification for the Finals next summer in Holland and Belgium, England ideally needed to win in Sofia. Although they didn't get the win, all is not lost although the objective seems much harder now.
England had a good opening spell, Fowler playing a good ball for Sheringham in the opening minutes, but it was just too far for the Manchester United striker to reach. Redknapp featured heavily in the attacks and he put the ball in the net from a free-kick, but the referee called for the kick to be retaken. On fifteen minutes captain, Alan Shearer, gave England the lead after the receiving the ball from Gray. Unfortunately the lead didn't last long as three minutes later Markov put the teams on equal terms after a cross from Stoichkov.
Jonathan Woodgate showed reasons why he has made the senior team when he played a brilliant ball to Campbell but the defender couldn't keep the ball in play.
With nine minutes on the clock before the half-time break, Bulgaria were unlucky not to take the lead when Stoichkov made a good run down the flank, playing the ball to Yovov who hit the ball wide of the open goal.
During the break Bulgaria replaced Yovov with Petrov which almost had a positive result when the home side, through this substitution, broke through England's defence, but Woodgate was able to tackle Petrov to prevent a shot at Seaman's goal.
Twelve minutes into the second half Bulgaria were reduced to ten men when their subsitute Petrov was sent off for his second caution of the game. His second yellow card was given after a foul on Sol Campbell. England now needed to capitalise on this advantage and came close a moment later when Sheringham headed the ball just wide of Ivankov's goal.
Bulgaria themselves had an oportunity to break the deadlock a minute later when Petkov drilleds in a 25 yard shot, causing Seaman to make the save, which he claimed at the second attempt.
In the final stages of the game both sides fought to take the lead but none of the attacking play produced a needed goal, leaving both teams taking a point away from the game and Sweden slowly slipping out of England's grasp. England now must win against Luxembourg and Poland in September to have a chance of making the Finals, and will probably have to qualify via the play-offs in November.
Ivankov, Kichichev, Zagorchich, Stoilov, Markov, Kirilov, S Petrov, Stoichkov (Batchev 72 mins),
Yovov (M Petrov 46 mins), M Petkov, Iliev (Borimirov 60 mins).
Subs Not Used: Gospodinov, Grouev, Stoianov, I Petkov.
Seaman, Gray, P Neville, Southgate, Campbell, Woodgate (Parlour 63 mins), Redknapp, Batty, Sheringham, Shearer, Fowler (Heskey 80 mins).
Subs Not Used: Ferdinand, Walker, Sherwood, Dyer, Andy Cole. (Full Squad)
Bulgaria Scorer: Markov (18 mins)
England Scorer: Shearer (15 mins)
Bulgaria Dismissal: M Petrov (58 mins)
Bulgaria Cautions: Iliev, M Petrov
England Cautions: Fowler, Southgate, Sheringham, Campbell
Referee: Mario Van Der Ende (Holland)