(Tuesday, June 22nd)
Final Score: Uruguay 1, Mexico 0
Rustenburg, South Africa (Sports Network) - Uruguay claimed the top spot in Group A on Tuesday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium as it downed Mexico, 1-0, on a first-half goal from Luis Suarez.
The win gives Uruguay seven points from its three games, while Mexico also advances after finishing level on four points with South Africa but holding an edge in goal difference.
"If look at what Uruguayan national teams have done at recent World Cups, we can't be anything but totally satisfied," said Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez. "It was clear over the course of the first phase that we're tough opponents for anybody."
Uruguay will hope to be a tough opponent for South Korea on Saturday, when they kick off the first game of the knockout round, while Mexico will meet Group B winners Argentina on Sunday.
France ends its tournament on the bottom of the group after it lost 2-1 to the hosts in the group's other match Tuesday.
An early mistake by the Mexican defense nearly handed Suarez the opening goal, but he shot wide of the far post after getting into the penalty area on the right.
Andres Guardado came within inches of putting Mexico ahead in the 22nd minute when he unleashed a rocket from 35 yards that easily beat Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. However, the ball struck the bottom of the crossbar and stayed out.
Mexico had more of the possession but Uruguay took a lead into halftime as Edinson Cavani delivered a pinpoint cross to the back post from the right wing that found the head of Suarez, who nodded the ball inside the post from eight yards.
Uruguay nearly doubled its lead in the 54th minute when a free kick from Diego Forlan was headed on target by Diego Lugano, forcing a good reaction save from goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
El Tri attempted to level the match in the 64th minute when Francisco Rodriguez got on the other end of a Pablo Barrera cross in front of goal, but he nodded the ball wide from six yards.
"We're hurting after this game and this result," Mexico defender Rafael Marquez said. "We're left with a sour taste in our mouths. It's true that we've qualified and that's the most important thing, but we need to go over all the errors we made today. It'll be crucial to work hard and improve ahead of what's to come."
Both sides appeared to be content with the result as the game entered the final stages, with both teams going through to the next round, and it allowed the Uruguay defense to record its third successive clean sheet in as many matches.
06/22 16:57:33 ET