Football Tulio's hand of God

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The Independent Online

There was controversy in the Copa America in Rivera, Uruguay, when Brazil knocked out Argentina, winning on penalties after snatching a draw with a handball as blatant as Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" effort against England in the 1986 World Cup.

Argentina were 10 minutes away from a semi-final place (extra time is not played in the Copa America) when the Brazilian full-back Jorginho, who made a lasting impression during the recent Umbro Cup in England, hit a hard, low cross from the right.

The ball evaded the defenders and found striker Tulio, who appeared to control it with his hand before turning and shooting past Rolando Cristante. The goal gave the world champions a 2-2 draw and took the game to a penalty shoot-out, which they won 4-2, earning a meeting with the United States tomorrow.

Like Maradona nine years ago, Tulio was not about to confess. "I controlled the ball on my chest," he said. The Argentinian coach, Daniel Passarella, was sent from the touchline for dissent 15 minutes from time, while Brazil's captain, Dunga, accused his opponents of foul play.

The Argentinian midfielder Leonardo Astrada was also sent off, a minute before half-time, and Brazil's midfielder Cesar Sampaio followed him two minutes from time.

Asked if he thought Argentina had been robbed, Passarella said, "Yes. Of course, yes," although he admitted he did not see Tulio's goal. "I spent the last 15 minutes in the dressing-room listening to the game on the radio," he said. "The Uruguayan commentator said it was a disgrace, that Argentina had been robbed of their triumph."

"I have only one thing to say," Dunga said. "The winners celebrate, the losers look for excuses."