21 – so many years have passed since the Bulgarian national team’s last success in a major event. In 2001 Bulgaria, playing the host role, won a bronze medal (gold for Russia and silver for Italy). Since then, Bulgarians have not won any medal. Her best result is seventh place in 2003 for the Euro in Turkey. Bulgarians play regularly at the European Championships, but, for example, they missed all the last Olympic Games, and in 2006 and 2010 they missed the World Championships. In 2014 and four years ago, they were only on the 12th position.
The obligatory victories of the Bulgarians were not and the worst performance in the history of the World Cup
For this year’s world championships, played in Poland and the Netherlands, the Bulgarians went with hopes. At least for the exit from the group and then the fight in the second group stage for the quarter-finals. They found themselves in group C, and their rivals were the trophy defenders and bronze medalists of the Tokyo Olympics – Serbki, Olympic champions – American, German, Canadian and the national team of Kazakhstan. A new coach, Lorenzo Micelli, former guardian of two Polish teams: Atom Sopot and Developres Rzeszów, was to help in the promotion to the second group stage. Italy in 2019 and 2010 won the Champions League with Italian Volley Bergamo. In addition, the leader returned to the squad – 32-year-old adopter Elica Atanasijević (nee Wasilewo), wife of Aleksandar, the Serbian attacker of PGE Skra Bełchatów.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarians failed in the matches played in Arnhem and Łódź. First, they lost four games in a row – 1: 3 with Germany, 2: 3 with the Serbs, 1: 3 with the Americans and unexpectedly 1: 3 with the Canadians. Especially the failures with German and Canadian cadres were received with disappointment. In the last round of the duel for parsley, the Bulgarians defeated Kazakhstan 3-0. However, it was by far the weakest team in the group, which lost all games 0: 3.
– If our team does not manage to face a strong opponent – the Americans, the Bulgarians will look for the mandatory two wins with Canada and Kazakhstan to qualify for the second phase of the championship – Gong.bg wrote directly after the second round of matches.
Failed to. As a result, the Bulgarians did not leave the group and did not advance to the second phase, in which sixteen best teams will play. Interestingly, this is the worst performance ever for this team in the world championship! Since 1952, Bulgarians have competed in 12 out of 18 possible World Cups. Her worst result is thirteenth place at the World Cup in Mexico in 1974.
The stars of the frame quit. “We did not come to win only with Kazakhstan”
No wonder then that Bulgaria is a big disappointment. Elica Atanasijević has barely returned to the national team and has already suggested that this could be her last big tournament on the international stage. – When asked if it had occurred to her that this could be her last major national championship, she replied with a firm “Yes” – we read in Gong.bg.
However, this is not the end of weakening and leaving the Bulgarian national team. 31-year-old Lora Kitipova, captain and primary quarterback, tearfully stated that the match against Kazakhstan was her last match for the national team.
– Most likely it will be my last season in the national team. I don’t want to say definitively, but I think it was my last tournament – said Kitipowa.
She also critically assessed the performance of her team at the world championships in Poland and the Netherlands.
– It was not easy for us, neither mentally nor physically. And personally, I feel very exhausted. We didn’t do our job. We didn’t come just to win against Kazakhstan. It’s good that we won, it would be even worse if we lost. I definitely think we could have given a lot more in this tournament, the quarterback admitted.
She also added that the team felt worse than during the League of Nations, in which the Bulgarians also failed and took only the 14th position in the 16-team group (four wins and eight defeats).
– We were much better prepared for the League of Nations. Maybe there was no such tension then, there were no inhibitions against us. Expectations always have an impact one way or another of the game. We were not well prepared for the World Cup. Personally, I’m not in my best shape either. I don’t know what the reason is. We played badly, nothing came out on the dance floor. I hope we can do better in the future, Kitipowa added.
Volleyball players are also worst in history
For volleyball fans in Bulgaria it is another big disappointment after the great event. The men’s volleyball world championships held in August in Poland and Slovenia were the worst in history for the representatives of Bulgaria. They dropped out of the competition after the group stage, which means that they will be classified 17-24. So far, the worst performances were recorded in 2002 and 2014, when they finished the tournament on positions 13-14. – I feel really bad. We can’t play like that. We can’t want to improve our game, join the ranks of good teams and then present ourselves on the pitch.
According to Gong.bg, Plamen Konstantinov will be the new coach of the Bulgarians. He is to replace Nikolai Jeliazkov, who resigned from this function after a sensational defeat at the last World Cup with an outsider – Mexico 2: 3.