Euro 2012 qual. - England set to play Bulgaria in near-empty stadium
Bulgaria are struggling to sell tickets for Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier at home to England, despite coach Lothar Matthaeus saying that the match is the biggest of the year so far for football in the Balkan country.
The Bulgarian Football Union have even begun selling tickets at petrol stations in an attempt to beef up sales, but local officials have confirmed that less than 15,000 tickets have been sold so far.
With the game being held at the 43,600-capacity Vasil Levski stadium in central Sofia, there is a strong prospect of the key qualifying match being played out in an arena that is significantly less than half full.
"Our team only have a very slim chance of reaching the finals but I'm still surprised because there are so many English football fans in Bulgaria," Kristian Georgiev, a 24-year-old fan, said at a quiet ticket office.
Bulgaria, who have failed to qualify for a major tournament since Euro 2004 in Portugal, are fourth in Group G with five points from five games, six behind leading pair England and Montenegro.