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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK

Mexico keep mogul awake

By James Blears
in Mexico City

Multi-millionaire business mogul Carlos Slim says he is losing sleep watching Mexico's World Cup campaign.

But his companies may be benefiting from the therapeutic powers of football-watching.

" Watching the World Cup stimulates people, so it's a bit like having a holiday "
Carlos Slim

Slim has been lying awake at night wondering whether the national team can beat Italy and progress to the second round .

Latin America's richest man, is renowned for his ability to accumulate bags of money, rather than bags under his eyes.

He owns Mexico's national telephone company Telmex, a major retail store chain and a host of other companies.

"I was up watching the World Cup on television until 3am the other day," he said.

"What happened to France is absolutely extraordinary, but they didn't score goals and lost matches.

"In my opinion, soccer is the essence of globalisation.

" The match against Italy will determine our destiny "
Carlos Slim

"At the same time, during the World Cup people lose working time by watching the games on television. However, by doing this they get stimulted, so it's a bit like having been on holiday."

As for Mexico's chances of winning against Italy, Slim is certainly fretting, but he thinks they have a better than slim chance.

"We won the first two matches and were formidable. There's no doubt that the next match against Italy will determine our destiny.

"I also hope fellow Latin-Americans Ecuador do well in their match, too."

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