MX23RW : Sunday, June 13 13:56:46| >> :60:264:264:
Sep 7, 2019 at 5pm UK at Wembley Stadium
Kane (24', 50' pen., 73' pen.), Sterling (55')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: England vs. Bulgaria - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Group A leaders England and winless Bulgaria at Wembley.

England resume their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on Saturday when they host Bulgaria at Wembley.

The Three Lions have never lost in 10 previous meetings with the Eastern Europeans and have made a flying start to qualifying in Group A with big victories in their two games so far.

Match preview

Gareth Southgate pictured in England training on September 2, 2019© Reuters

An international trophy continues to elude England, who followed up their memorable fourth-place finish at last summer's World Cup by earning the bronze medal in the inaugural Nations League Finals in June.

The feeling is that Gareth Southgate's side are on the right track, though, and Euro 2020 is a target which will very much be on their radar with the semi-finals and final coming on home soil at Wembley.

The Three Lions must first ensure that they get there, of course, and they have made a supremely confident start in those stakes by scoring five goals in both of their qualifiers so far.

A 5-0 drubbing of Czech Republic, who were expected to provide the stiffest test of their credentials, sent out a statement of intent from the off, and England then followed that up with a 5-1 triumph in Montenegro.

Czech Republic have since bounced back with successive wins to leave themselves level with England at the top of Group A, but Southgate will be confident of adding another six points to the tally over the coming days with back-to-back home games against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Anything less than maximum points would constitute an almighty upset, with Bulgaria winless in their last seven matches and having lost their last two - most recently a humiliating late home defeat at the hands of minnows Kosovo.

Saturday's opponents are joint-bottom with Montenegro having picked up only two points from their opening four games, and you have to go back to June 2015 for their last qualifying win away from home.

England, by contrast, have not lost a European Championship or World Cup qualifier on home soil since 2007, winning 22 of 25 such outings including each of their last 15, during which they have conceded only three goals.

Even a Bulgarian goal would be a significant surprise, then, and Southgate could even use what looks like a home banker to experiment with some new faces in a youthful squad.

England form: WWWWLW

Bulgaria form: DDDDLL

Team News

Raheem Sterling nabs England's fifth in Montenegro on March 25, 2019© Reuters

Raheem Sterling has been the star of the show for England in qualifying so far with four goals from just two games to double his international tally, and he is likely to start again having begun the Premier League campaign in similarly deadly form.

The 24-year-old is the joint most-capped player in the squad alongside Jordan Henderson on 51, while captain Harry Kane, who will likely lead the line, is the only player to have reached double figures for international goals.

Indeed, 13 of the 24-man squad have not even reached double figures in terms of appearances, including uncapped trio Tyrone Mings, James Maddison and Mason Mount - all of whom will be hopeful of earning their debuts over the double-header.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been denied his possible debut by injury, while fellow right-back Kyle Walker was a notable omission from the original squad to leave Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier battling it out in that position.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in the England setup, meanwhile, and could make his first international appearance since March 2018.

Bulgaria's main dangerman will be captain Ivelin Popov, who is expected to add to his 84 caps if not his 15 goals for his country.

It could also be a landmark day for 33-year-old defender Nikolay Bodurov, who will earn his 50th international cap should he play.

England possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Keane, Maguire, Rose; Winks, Henderson, Barkley; Sancho, Kane, Sterling

Bulgaria possible starting lineup:
Iliev; S Popov, Nedyalkov, Bozhikov, Goranov; Milanov, Slavchev, Sarmov; Ivanov, Despodov, I Popov

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We say: England 4-0 Bulgaria

Gone are the days where Bulgaria were deemed as tricky and difficult opposition, and the main question regarding this match appears to be how much England will win by. The Three Lions have scored seven goals without reply in their last two meetings with this opposition, and five in both qualifying games so far, and we're backing another big win on Saturday.

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka pictured in August 2019
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