BULGARIA 0 ENGLAND 1 – International Friendly – Vasili Levski Stadium, Sofia – 1st June 1974

England continued their tour of Eastern Europe with another clash against a side which had qualified for the forthcoming World Cup in West Germany. The match against Bulgaria almost didn’t go ahead as there were problems with the hotel the touring party were staying in, which resulted in the players bunking together in rooms allocated to the press.

The match did go ahead and was shown on an International Match of the Day on BBC1. Barry Davies was in the commentary box and the pictures were in black and white. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any footage of the game.

England caretaker manager Joe Mercer had seen enough from his players in the 1-1 draw with East Germany to have faith in them to go out and do the business once again. He named an unchanged side, and for the second consecutive match made no substitutions.

England once again performed well, a goal two minutes before half time from Frank Worthington enough to separate the sides. It was a fitting farewell for the iconic red strip worn on that famous day in 1966 (although this was a short sleeved airtex version). The next time England would wear red, it would be the new Admiral strip.

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