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Football / World Cup USA '94: Mexico in wary mood

(First Edition)

MEXICO, the surprise winners of Group E, are confident they can overcome the suspension-hit Bulgarians today to set up a World Cup quarter-final meeting with the champions, Germany.

Bulgaria are Mexico's preferred opponents in the second phase and Jorge Campos, the goalkeeper, believes Mexico's run can continue. 'It's true that we would rather be playing Bulgaria than Nigeria but we aren't going to underestimate anyone,' he said. 'Even with three players suspended, they remain dangerous and we shall have to watch out for flashes of genius from Stoichkov.'

Bulgaria upset everyone's travel plans when they defeated Argentina 2-0 last Thursday to earn second place in Group D. That memorable win incurred three suspensions - Trifon Ivanov and Zlatko Yankov picking up their second yellow cards, while Tsanko Zvetanov was sent off.

Dimitar Penev, the coach, needs to reshuffle his defence and is likely to call up the experienced Nikolai Iliev and Ilian Kiryakov. Daniel Borimirov should replace Yankov in midfield.

Mexico are deprived of the suspended Joaquin del Olmo in defence and are set to recall Ramon Ramirez in his place. Ramirez played a prominent role in Mexico's Copa America campaign last year.

BULGARIA (probable): Mikhailov (Mulhouse); Kremenliev (Levski Sofia), Iliev (Rennes), Hubchev (Levski Sofia), Kiryakov (Lerida), Borimirov (Levski Sofia), Lechkov (Hamburg), Balakov (Sporting Lisbon), Kostadinov (Porto), Sirakov (Levski Sofia), Stoichkov (Barcelona).

MEXICO (probable): Campos (UNAM); Rodriguez (Toluca), Suarez, J Ramirez Perales (both UNAM), R Ramirez (Santos Torreon); Ambriz (Necaxa), Bernal (Toluca), A Garcia Aspe (Necaxa), L Garcia (Atletico Madrid); Alves (America), Hermosillo (Cruz Azul).

Referee: J Al Sharif (Syria).