There have been fresh calls for Croatian coach Otto Baric to resign following the Euro 2004 qualifier Group 8 defeat to Bulgaria on Saturday.
First-half goals from Stilian Petrov and Dimitar Berbatov were enough to give group leaders Bulgaria three points.
Bulgaria now have maximum points from their two games, while Croatia have a solitary point gained from a goalless draw at home with Estonia. Reaction to Croatia’s performance in Sofia has been unrelenting.
Newspaper columnists have been vociferous.
Tomislav Zidak wrote that by playing for the goalless draw, “Baric had deprived the team of guts and courage.”
Perhaps the most damning criticism came from former manager, Miroslav Blazevic who still harbours aspirtations to manage Croatia again, “Croatia can still play, they only need a strong boss,” said Blazevic.
Baric has stated his desire to continue in the role. If he is given the opportunity to do so, he has six months until the next game, away to Belgium.
In contrast a rejuvenated Bulgaria entertain Andorra on Wednesday, looking to make it three wins out of three. There are doubts regarding the fitness of captain Krassimir Balakov who has a stomach muscle injury. Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov will also be missing due to an ankle injury but that Martin Petrov would probably be able to play.
Belgium head to Estonia on the back of an unimpressive performance against Andorra at the weekend. Wesley Sonck scoring the only goal of the game, giving the Belgians their first three points of the campaign.