Soccer World Cup

World Cup Qualifying: Armenia-Bulgaria Preview

Image courtesy of Henrik Mkhitaryan Official Facebook page

Armenia will have a difficult test as they will host Bulgaria in a UEFA Qualifying match corresponding to Group B. The hosts have a slight chance to keep themselves alive if they are able to defeat Bulgaria, but they will also need other results to go their way to maintain their chances through the next week.

So far after eight games, Armenia are sitting fourth with nine points while Bulgaria has 13 in the same number of matches. A win from Lyuboslav Penev’s men will automatically give them a spot in the playoffs, while a draw could even move them all the way down to the third place depending what happens in the Denmark-Italy matchup to be played in Copenhagen.

Both sides have interesting players to be watched in this game. Most of Armenia’s attacking plays will be led by Borussia Dortmund star Henrik Mkhitaryan, who’s undoubtedly the best player in the squad. He’s the most experienced member of the squad, is a leader both on and off the field and his presence alone can be a sign of worrying for Bulgaria’s defensive line.

Meanwhile, the visitors have two interesting players in goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov and midfielder Aleksandar Tonev. The Verona shot-stopper will need to be at his best to maintain his team’s chances in the game, while the Aston Villa star will need to be effective in leading his side’s efforts if they want to secure their playoff berth.

Prediction: Armenia 1 – 2 Bulgaria

Armenia will try to push their lines forward constantly as they need a good result to stay alive, but the experience of Bulgaria will be too much to handle for a side that doesn’t have many players proven at a bigger stage. The hosts will end up struggling, and I believe Bulgaria will end up getting the three points.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a soccer writer for Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google