World Cup - Bulgaria sneaked into France for 1993 win

Thu, 17 Nov 17:45:00 2011

An illegal border crossing helped secure Bulgaria's famous 2-1 win over France in 1993 which set up their impressive run to the World Cup semi-finals in the United States the following year.

FOOTBALL file photo Emil Kostadinov, Bulgaria - 0

The Balkan country clinched victory in Paris in the last minute when Emil Kostadinov scored from Luboslav Penev's pass but midfielder Zlatko Yankov revealed that the duo had entered France without the necessary visas.

"This story sounds like a legend now but it's true," Yankov, capped by Bulgaria 80 times between 1990 and 1999, told local media on Thursday.

"They (Kostadinov and Penev) had visa problems and they needed help from our keeper Borislav Mihaylov and former Bulgaria midfielder Georgi Georgiev, who were playing for the French club Mulhouse at that time, to join us in Paris."

"Kostadinov and Penev sneaked across the border between Germany and France in a car driven by Georgiev as the two Mulhouse players deliberately chose a border-post with low security."

France coach Gerard Houllier blamed winger David Ginola for misplacing a cross which allowed Bulgaria to launch the decisive counter attack and Yankov agreed with the former Liverpool manager.

"We're just waiting for the referee to blow the final whistle at that moment," said Yankov, who now works as Chernomorets Burgas's sporting director.

"We and even our coaching staff on the bench were convinced that it's over and nothing more can be done.

"Ginola could've done better - to waste some time and it should have been the end of the match. But he probably thought they could win the game," he added.

Only a month before the match at the Parc des Princes, France looked sure of a place in the finals with two home games to play against Israel and Bulgaria but they lost both to goals scored in the dying minutes.

"The French look sick after the game, nobody could believe what happened," Yankov said. "I remember the face of Jean-Pierre Papin. He was so pale, he looked like he was very ill."

PA Sport

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