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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Fiesta time in Mexico City
Borgetti's goal signalled the start of the celebrations
Borgetti's goal signalled the start of the celebrations

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The people of Mexico City took to the streets of the capital early on Thursday in celebration of "el magnifico" draw against Italy.

The real killjoys, apart of course from Alessandro del Piero and his 85th-minute equaliser, were the Mexican police.

They sullenly ringed the Angel of Independence to prevent revellers from blocking one of the city's main thoroughfares.

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We're going to the next round in first place ahead of Italy and we're going to win this World Cup
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Miguel

But this did not stop people cheering themselves hoarse, hugging each other and dancing jigs to marachi music, while hundreds of cars honked their horns in time, creating a samba-style cresendo of sound.

Church bells could also be heard ringing out.

One joyous Mexican called Miguel really summed it all up. With tears streaming down his face he declared: "Si se puede (yes, we can do it)."

He added: "Mexico dominated this match. We got careless and relaxed and were punished, but we now know we can play against the mightiest and do really well.

"We're going to the next round in first place ahead of Italy and we're going to win this World Cup."

The national power company Luz y Fuerza (Light and Power) has reported a huge surge started at the unheard-of time of 6am, when the match kicked off.

The restaurant in Sanbourns, the department store owned by Latin America's richest man Carlos Slim, erupted when Jared Borgetti, the Mexican with an Italian name, flipped his header home in the 34th minute.

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They've done us proud - Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, si se puede
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Mexican fan

There were collective groans and more than a few tears and sobs of frustration when Del Piero caught Mexico napping in the 85th minute.

There were howls of rage when Mexico skipper Rafa Marquez was viciously wacked in the throat in an off-the-ball incident and temporarily carried off on a stretcher.

The drenched armpits of jacketless coach Javier Aguirre showed the mental energy El Tri was putting in.

Back home, the animated Mexicans watching on televison made nail-biting the second-most popular national sport.

Over the last few days, President Fox has been capping his television appearances by clapping his hands and chanting "Mexico, Mexico". He is promising a celebration in the Presidential Palace.

Schools started late on Thursday and huge numbers are not expected to make it in to work, with hundreds of bars doing a roaring early-morning trade.

As one flag waving fan with the red, white and green national colours running down his perspiring face yelled: "They've done us proud. Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, si se puede!"


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GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

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