SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria named uncapped goalkeeper Georgi Kitanov in their 25-man squad on Thursday for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers away to Italy on September 6 and Malta four days later.
Coach Luboslav Penev called up the promising 18-year-old Cherno More Varna keeper following his outstanding performances in the domestic league. Kitanov trained with Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in January but was not offered a contract.
Bulgaria, who have failed to reach the World Cup finals since 1998, visit Italy in Palermo on September 6 and take on Malta in Ta’ Qali on September 10.
The unbeaten Bulgarians are second in Group B on 10 points from six matches, four points behind Italy. The Czech Republic are third on nine points, followed by Armenia and Denmark on six. Malta are bottom on three points.
Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (Hellas Verona), Vladislav Stoyanov (Ludogorets), Georgi Kitanov (Cherno More Varna)
Defenders: Ivan Ivanov (Basel), Petar Zanev (Akmar Perm), Yordan Minev (Ludogorets), Radoslav Dimitrov (Slavia Sofia), Yordan Hristov (Botev Plovdiv), Nikolay Bodurov (Litex Lovech), Iliya Milanov (Litex Lovech), Alexander Alexandrov (Cherno More Varna), Veselin Minev (Botev Plovdiv)
Midfielders: Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven), Georgi Milanov (CSKA Moscow), Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa), Vladimir Gadzhev (Levski Sofia), Georgi Iliev (Cherno More Varna), Svetoslav Dyakov (Ludogorets), Hristo Zlatinski (Ludogorets)
Forwards: Ivelin Popov (Kuban Krasnodar), Spas Delev (Las Palmas), Dimitar Rangelov (Luzern), Todor Nedelev (Botev Plovdiv), Emil Gargorov (CSKA Sofia), Ventsislav Hristov (Beroe Stara Zagora)
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Ed Osmond