Football / World Cup USA '94: Brazilians leave Rai out of US encounter

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BRAZIL are hoping to spoil the Fourth of July festivities for the hosts in today's second-round World Cup tie. However, the Brazilian coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, is taking nothing for granted. He has dropped his captain, Rai, and replaced him with Mazinho, while Dunga takes over as captain.

'I feel Mazinho has played well in this World Cup, and I want to take advantage of his good form,' Parreira said. 'He has good pace and will do well on the right side of midfield.'

Mazinho, who will be winning his 53rd cap, played 11 minutes against Russia after replacing Dunga, and the second half of the Sweden game when he took over from Mauro Silva.

The Americans have little to lose and are likely to be lifted by the holiday atmosphere in a packed Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto.

'The Americans reached this stage on merit in a very difficult group,' Parreira said. 'Just by getting here they have shown how much they have improved. They're obviously not stupid and we don't want to be surprised.'

Brazil will be looking to the Barcelona striker, Romario, to continue his goal-a-game record in the tournament to break down what is expected to be a packed defence. The Americans' best weapon is likely to be the counter-attack.

Brazil topped Group B after a

2-0 victory over Russia, a 3-0 win over Cameroon and a 1-1 draw with Sweden. Romario has scored three of their six goals. But the South Americans have looked unstoppable in the early stages many times since they won the last of their three World Cups in 1970 - and still failed to reach a final.

Bora Milutinovic, America's coach, said: 'The US team has a good mentality, which is important at this stage. Brazil has always played a big part in the World Cup in recent years, but has not reached the final. We won't have any pressure on us. Brazil is the one that will be under pressure.'

The United States are buoyant because of their unexpected success. A shock 2-1 win over Colombia and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland were enough to see them into the last 16 as a third-placed team.

They will be without John Harkes, who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the first round. Eric Wynalda could move back into midfield to take his place and Roy Wegerle could take Wynalda's place up front.

BRAZIL: Taffarel (Reggiana); Jorginho (Bayern Munich), Aldair (Roma), Leonardo (Sao Paulo), Marcio Santos (Bordeaux); Mauro Silva (Deportivo La Coruna), Dunga (VfB Stuttgart), Zinho, Mazinho (both Palmeiras); Bebeto (Deportivo La Coruna), Romario (Barcelona).

UNITED STATES (probable): Meola (United States Soccer Federation); Dooley (Bayer Leverkusen), Balboa (USSF), Caligiuri (USSF), Clavijo (USSF), Lalas (USSF), Ramos (Real Betis), Sorber (USSF), Wynalda (VfL Bochum), Stewart (Willem II Tilburg), Wegerle (Coventry City).