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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Not-So-National Team




BRASILIA () -- Brazilian soccer fans were surprised to learn two matches billed as friendly internationals were no more than dressed-up clashes between the Brazilian Olympic squad and East European clubs.


Newspapers in soccer-mad Brazil hailed their team's 2-0 triumph over Bulgaria in Brasilia on Sunday and a 1-0 win Tuesday against Ukraine in Uberlandia, southeast Brazil.


But on Wednesday it emerged that "Bulgaria" was in fact the club Slavia, playing as Bulgaria's Olympic squad.


Ukrainian officials said their team was club side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, running third in that country's national championships.


Nikola Exerov, spokesman for the Bulgarian Football Union, said in Sofia the BFU had given soccer club Slavia permission to be presented in Brazil as the country's Olympics team "to gather greater audience and profits."


Bulgaria does not have an Olympic squad as it did not qualify for Atlanta.