Tulio ready for torrid reception

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The Independent Online
The Brazilian striker Tulio faces one of the most torrid experiences of his career tonight when he lines up to play against Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The most prolific Brazilian goalscorer of the moment is public enemy No 1 in Argentina following his goal against them in a Copa America quarter- final in July.

The Botafogo striker appeared to bring the ball down with his arm before scoring the goal which salvaged his team a 2-2 draw. Brazil, for whom Middlesbrough's Juninho will be wearing the No 10 shirt tonight, then rubbed salt into Argentinian wounds by going on to win on penalties.

The Argentina president, Carlos Menem, called it "armed robbery" but, far from trying to defuse the situation Tulio poured more fuel on the fire when he promised to grab the winner in tonight's game.

"I'm going to score again. It won't be another controversial goal but it will be one that will stay in the memories of Brazilian and Argentinian fans because it will be the one which will win the game," he said last week.

Tulio, who has outscored World Cup hero Romario in domestic football this year, is likely to line up alongside Bebeto in attack in a game which, although a friendly, is being taken seriously by both sides.

Daniel Passarella, the Argentinian coach, is under intense pressure for a good result after a disappointing Copa America performance which also included a 3-0 defeat by the United States. This was followed by a 2-1 defeat by Spain in September.

Consequently, he has asked several of his leading players, including two strikers playing in Italy, Gabriel Batistuta of Fiorentina and Abel Balbo of Roma, to make the long journey from Europe just for the game.

However, the veteran Diego Maradona, who has never made a secret of his dislike for Passarella, has been ignored, despite making an impressive comeback with the Buenos Aires club Boca Juniors, following the second drugs suspension of his career.

Brazil have also brought over several European-based players, including Juninho, and the outstanding young full-back Roberto Carlos, who plays for another Italian club, Internazionale of Milan.

Although Brazil lost the Copa America final on penalties against Uruguay, they have not been beaten over 90 minutes since losing 2-1 to Germany in November 1993.

ARGENTINA (probable): Cristante; Zanetti, Trotta, Caceres, Altamirano, Simeone, Astrada, Berti, Ortega, Balbo, Batistuta.

BRAZIL (probable): Germano; Cafu, Aldair, Cruz, Carlos, Amaral, Juninho, Rivaldo, Giovanni, Tulio, Bebeto.