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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK

Ambassador declares open house

By James Blears
in Mexico City

The tiny Ecuadorean community in Mexico will be glued to the TV in their embassy in Mexico City for the Group G showdown between the two teams on Sunday.

And they will be cheering themselves hoarse while lubricating their vocal cords with their country's traditional brew - fire water.

" We have to go all out for this win and our team will have the courage and fortitude to achieve it "
Dr Gustavo Vega Delgado

Ecuador's Ambassador in Mexico, Dr Gustavo Vega Delgado, is expecting plenty of expatriates to join him and his family.

"My wife, Monica, and my six-year-old daughter Melina, who knows everything about our team, and I are going to be cheering along with about 150 people. The entire community is invited and very welcome.

"Of course we are all going to behave properly and there will certainly be no hooliganism, but we're also going to really enjoy ourselves and have a few drinks of a typical beverage from Ecuador.

"Fire water is made from sugar cane and has quite a kick, like our team.

Optimistic

"For us, I accept it's almost like a case of David aganist Goliath.

"We have a population of almost 12 million while Mexico has 100 million, yet we qualified for our first ever World Cup in second place and defeated mighty Brazil on the way."

Despite the defeat against Italy, Dr Vega Dalgado remains upbeat and optimistic. "We did lose, but we were not humbled or dispirited," he said.

"In my heart of hearts, I feel the score will be 2-1 to us. We have to go all out for this win and our team will have the courage and fortitude to achieve it.

"This is our first experience in the World Cup, but we are not overawed.

"Our players are ready to face a very important challenge and responsibility with a tremendous sense of pride and we are also determined to enjoy each and every minute."


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