SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria coach Lyuboslav Penev recalled on Friday Brazilian-born midfielder Marquinhos to the 26-men squad for the final World Cup qualifiers against Armenia and the Czech Republic.
Bulgaria is away to Armenia on April 11 and hosts the Czech Republic four days later. Marquinhos, who has scored seven goals for his team Lokomotiv Sofia this season, has been called up for the first time this year, with Todor Nedelev and Georgi Iliev out injured.
Bulgaria is second in Group B with 13 points from eight games, seven behind Italy who already qualified for the finals. Also fighting for playoff spot are third-place Denmark with 12 points, as well as the Czech Republic and Armenia with nine.
Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (Verona), Vladislav Stoyanov (Ludogorets), Ivan Cvorovic (Ludogorets)
Defenders: Pavel Vidanov (Zaglebie Lubin), Petar Zanev (Amkar Perm), Yordan Minev (Ludogorets), Radoslav Dimitrov (Slavia Sofia), Nikolay Bodurov (Litex), Iliya Milanov (Litex), Ivan Ivanov (Basel), Yordan Hristov (Botev Plovdiv), Alexander Alexandrov (Cherno More Varna), Veselin Minev (Botev Plovdiv)
Midfielders: Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa), Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven), Vladimir Gadzhev (Levski Sofia), Svetoslav Dyakov (Ludogorets), Georgi Milanov (CSKA Moscow), Hristo Zlatinski (Ludogorets), Simeon Slavchev (Litex), Marquinhos (Lokomotiv Sofia)
Forwards: Ivelin Popov (Kuban Krasnodar), Spas Delev (Las Palmas), Dimitar Rangelov (Luzern), Emil Gargorov (CSKA Sofia), Ventsislav Hristov (Beroe Stara Zagora).