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Thursday, 13 June, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK

Italy breathe sigh of relief

Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni was a relieved man after his team left it late before squeezing into the second round with a 1-1 draw against Mexico.

Trapattoni's side trailed for the majority of the game after Jared Borgetti headed Mexico in front on 34 minutes but finally found the net with a much-needed equaliser through Alessandro del Pierro on 85 minutes

" There was a good reaction from the whole team after Mexico scored "
Giovanni Trapattoni

"Yes we trembled but we are happy," said Trapattoni.

"There was a lot of pressure on us, also from our fans.

"We finished a good first half-hour. We had a goal ruled out that was maybe valid. We had two other opportunities.

"We deserved a draw, we created far more chances.

"There was a good reaction from the whole team after Mexico scored."

Italy chased the game for most of the match but it was not until 85 minutes - seven minutes after the introduction of Del Piero in place of Francesco Totti - that they made the breakthrough.

"It's fantastic, something really wonderful," said Del Piero.

"If we'd won I would be comfortable, but we've reached our objective of qualifying."

Del Piero added that the disallowed goals would stay stored up in Italy's fortune bank ready to be used in the knockout stage.

"Those are the credits we will have in the future, one can only hope," he said.

Italy finished second in Group D and will meet the winners of Group D in the second round, who could be South Korea, Portugal or the United States.


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