Bulgaria vs England preview: Three Lions vowing to bounce back
 (Photo by Thomas Eisenhuth/Getty Images)

England's loss to Czech Republic ended a run of 43 unbeaten qualifiers which stretched back ten years. The noisy surroundings of Slavia Prague's Sinobo Stadium will be somewhat replicated on Monday night.

The Group E encounter will be played in front of partially full stadium after UEFA implemented the punishment of closing sections of the Vasil Levski National StadiumBulgaria supporters were found guilty of racist behaviour in previous EURO 2020 qualifiers.

England boss Gareth Southgate has since revealed he would join his players if they see fit to walk off if such events reoccur on Monday.

Bulgaria football president Borislav Mihaylov labelled Southgate's comments as "offensive". His letter to UEFA read: "The Bulgarian public has in no way committed any recent infringements that deserve it to be stereotyped as 'racist' or 'hostile'.

On the Pitch

 

Unfortunately, it's negative reading here too. England were stifled in Prague, and eventually suffered when Zdenek Ondrasek found a winner for the hosts five minutes from time.

Defensively, a lot was left to be desired. That, coupled with the form of Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori now breathing down the neck of particularly underperforming Michael Keane, means we can expect Southgate to make defensive alterations against Bulgaria.

Further up the pitch, two holding midfielders were chosen in Prague, but Mason Mount was isolated along with Harry Kane. Ross Barkley will be a strong contender to regain his place in the team with James Maddison nursing a cold.

Bulgaria predicted XI: Iliev, Pashov, Dimitrov, Zanev, Nedyalkov, Popov, Ivanov, Malinov, Marcelinho, Wanderson, Kraev.

England predicted XI: Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Mings, Chilwell, Henderson, Barkley, Mount, Sterling, Rashford, Kane.

Team News

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick in England's last meeting with Bulgaria, winning 4-0 at Wembley earlier in their qualification campaign. He looks set to retain his place after scoring another goal in the defeat to the Czech Republic.

Maddison and Callum Wilson both missed the trip to Prague, and look set to miss out once more. Southgate avoided involving Maddison in England's last outing as he didn't want his illness to spread in the camp.

Danny Rose is suspended and his replacement will most likely be Ben Chilwell. The Leicester man has made two starts in England's EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.

Head-to-Head

England are unbeaten in their eleven encounters with Bulgaria, winning seven and drawing four since 1962. It took 12 years for England to register their first win over Monday nights opponents.

A 3-0 win was recorded on England's last visit to Sofia in September of 2011 with Gary Cahill and Wayne Rooney (2) getting the goals.

Southgate looks ahead

Southgate didn't hold back in the criticisms of his sides display in Prague. He told ITV Sport: "We've had a lot of credit in the last two years but we didn't do enough to win."

"The performance was not good enough, simple as that.

"I think there were things we can look back on, collectively we have to accept there were not enough good performances."

Ahead of Bulgaria, Southgate said: "We are in a difficult situation in terms of the players that have played international football with us in defence and who is playing regularly for their clubs."

He added, "that's part of the reason we didn't use a back three against the Czech Republic."

"I think players take in tactical concepts very quickly, especially top players. We have to keep reflecting on what's working and what's possible, and learn from every experience we have."

Southgate will be looking for a good performance as well as a positive result in Bulgaria to all but confirm a place at the 16th European Championships next summer.

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