Matthaus: Bulgaria must not fall in mouse trap

SOFIA - Bulgaria coach Lothar Matthaus wants his team to play like Germans when they take on England in Euro 2012 qualifying on Friday.

"To play against a nation with such a great history is very special and the players must know that such games are remembered for a long time," the German told reporters on Thursday.

"I would like to play against England but unfortunately I can't, I'll only be on the bench. My players must not run like a mouse from a cat... I want them to play like Germans."

Former playmaker Matthaus scored a penalty against England in a 1990 World Cup semi-final shootout before leading his side to victory over Argentina in the final.

Bulgaria have yet to score at home in this qualifying campaign but England coach Fabio Capello is still expecting a difficult tie in Sofia.

"I've watched their last two games - at home to Switzerland and away to Montenegro - and they played really well," the Italian said.

"They are a very well-organised team with good players who can do fantastic counter-attacks and we have to be careful not to concede a goal."


Former world champions England top the Group G table, ahead of Montenegro on goal difference, with 11 points from five games. Bulgaria are fourth with five points.

"We are prepared and we have come here only to win," added Capello who is sweating on Darren Bent's fitness as the Aston Villa striker tries to shake off a groin injury.

"It's a very important match. We have the same points as Montenegro but we want to win every game as they will have one more game to play after we have finished our campaign."

England, who failed to qualify for Euro 2008, take a nine-match unbeaten record against Bulgaria into the match including a resounding 4-0 win at Wembley last September.

Captain John Terry said he was expecting "a real battle" at the Vasil Levski national stadium.

"We realise it will be a tough test," said the Chelsea defender. "It's a big stadium and it will be quite a hostile atmosphere."