When Uruguay and Mexico meet in Rustenburg on Tuesday, a draw would see both teams qualify from Group A regardless of the other result. Mexico, however, will have other ideas. If a draw is the eventual outcome, Uruguay would top the group due to their superior goal difference, and it looks likely that the runners up will have to face Argentina; a fate both teams will be eager to avoid.
The disarry in the French camp has put both teams in the driving seat to progress
La Celeste got off to a good start in the group, holding France to a goalless draw with ten men, in a match which the French players actually trained in preparation for. Oscar Tabarez then proved his willingness to make changes, by unleashing Forlan into a deeper role, a system which he is likely to use against El Tri. Forlan scored a brace to put the small nation’s stamp on the World Cup, and will again be key if they want to top the group.
However, whilst France and South Africa looked fairly impotent as attacking forces, Mexico will undoubtedly provide an altogether different threat. Arsenal’s Carlos Vela is set to be unavailable after being taken off injured in his side’s impressive 2-0 victory over France, but Javier Aguirre has more than competent replacements waiting in the wings. Javier Hernandez, newly of Manchester United, could be the man to step in, and paired with Giovani Dos Santos will provide the blistering pace that Uruguay are yet to come across in the competition. The striker came on to score the opening goal against France of in their last match.
Javier Hernandez could have earned himself a starting place
Conversely, Aguirre could opt for the experience of 37-year-old Blanco, who has 120 international appearances to his name, and scored the penalty to which killed the French off on Thursday. But Hernandez is likely to get the nod, and it will be interesting to see how the Uruguayan defence, led by captain Diego Lugano, cope with the pace of the Mexican attack.
Prediction: Both teams will want to top the group as to avoid Argentina and set up a tie against one of Greece, South Korea and Nigeria. However, I feel it will be a cagey affair with avoiding defeat the main priority, and end in a 1-1 draw.