International Friendly: Bulgaria v Canada

Canada will go in search of their first win in more than 19 months when they take on Bulgaria in Ritzing on Friday.

Canada have dropped to 110th in the FIFA rankings after a disastrous run of form which included their group stage exit at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

New manager Benito Floro took charge in August and has not been able to reverse the nation's fortunes, with just one draw - against the 139th-ranked Mauritania - from five matches.

They have not scored in their last 10 matches either, meaning Floro is still waiting to see Canada score under his tutelage.

Floro has looked to youth during his short-lived tenure and this continued with his 24-man squad for the clash against Bulgaria and another upcoming friendly against Moldova.

Of that squad, 11 players are under the age of 21, with Julian de Guzman and Atiba Hutchinson to provide the experience.

Given that the match is not being played in a FIFA international break, MLS players will remain with their clubs, meaning the likes of Dwayne De Rosario and Will Johnson will not be in action.

Canada have not played since November last year – when they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Slovenia – and Floro will hope they find better form in 2014.

Bulgaria lost three of their last four matches in their ultimately unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

And they have played just once since as goals from Georgi Milanov and Vladimir Gadzhev gave them a 2-1 friendly win against Belarus in March.

Manager Luboslav Penev mainly named home-based players in his squad as he assesses his options ahead of qualification for UEFA Euro 2016, which begins in September.

Captain Ivelin Popov – who plays for Kuban Krasnodar in the Russian Premier League – is included but the likes of Ivan Ivanov and Peter Zanev have been left out.

Bulgaria and Canada have never played each other but Penev insists they will be ready for Friday's encounter.

"(The) players are not familiar with Canada but yesterday I introduced them," Penev said.

"So (they) will not be surprised. I'll show them interesting things in defence and attack and be fully prepared.

"I expect to continue on this good line of development and we will try to consolidate and show something new.

"We were unable to qualify for the World Cup. I think we (got what) we deserved. (But we) do not give up the pursuit of higher goals."


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