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Posted by Fernando Casarez on 06/21/2010

It seems long ago when everybody was waiting and speculating about the World Cup, the opening game involved Mexico and the host, a wonderful atmosphere was created, and the tournament has been good so far. Maybe only the not fully booked stadiums, the lack of goals in the first games and the annoying vuvuzelas (although I know some people like them), were some of the minor problems for the Cup.

Now it’s time to close the first round and the first two teams playing for a second round spot will be Mexico and Uruguay. El Tri and the Charrúas, won their last games in great fashion, beating France and South Africa respectively. Tomorrow will be the moment to decide the group, with both teams having the same thing in mind, avoiding Argentina.

Mexicans and Uruguayans have 4 points, but the South Americans have a goal average of +3 while the guys of Javier Aguirre have a +2. The other teams in the group Les Bleus and the Bafana Bafana have one point. So a draw will give a place in the second stage to both Mexico and Uruguay, but the first place of the group will go to the Charrúas.

But first of all let’s be clear, both teams are not yet in the next round, one point will be enough but a defeat combined with a French or South African victory by a good margin of goals, could mean elimination for the losing side tomorrow.

This is not very likely, since France has a lot of internal problems that apparently already destroy the team from the inside, while the Bafana Bafana, will need a miracle to advance. If Mexico is defeated by one goal, the home team would need to win by a four goal margin, and with an Uruguayan defeat by one goal they will need to win by five goals.

But anything could happen in this surprising World Cup Finals, but let’s be positive and think there won’t be crazy results tomorrow and as expected Uruguay and Mexico will go through. Two teams, two places, the main goal is winning the group, since the price for finishing second will be a trip to the Soccer City stadium (not bad), well maybe not that good if you will face Argentina.

Ok this is a World Cup, you have to beat any team if you want to progress, but come on, if you have the chance of winning a game, getting the first place of a group and avoid playing with La Albiceleste, you would get better chances of getting into the promise land… the famous “Fifth game”.

For all of you that do not know what that is, it’s simple, winning in the round of 16 and getting to the Quarterfinals. Something Mexico did just once at home back in 1986, later, there had been four round of 16 exists, Bulgaria on penalties in 1994, Germany 2-1 in 1998, a painful defeat against the USA in 2002 and an overtime thriller facing Argentina in 2006.

So theoretically the chance of facing Greece, Nigeria or South Korea seem better to win, than facing Maradona’s squad. Let’s be clear that Argentina haven’t clinched the first place of group B, but only a disastrous defeat to Greece tomorrow and another goal festival between Korea and the Super Eagles would prevent the Argentineans from topping their group.

One more fact is that in 2005 Mexico lose to Argentina on penalties in the Confederations Cup semifinals in Germany, one year later a superb goal of Maxi Rodríguez give La Albiceleste the edge on the overtime over Mexico in the round of 16 of the world cup and one year later a fantastic Messi leaded Argentina to beat Mexico 3-0 in Venezuela during the 2007 Copa América semifinals.

With all of that, tomorrow’s mission is clear, to win!!! Mexico had shown a great level during the first two games, especially during the second half against France, tomorrow will be needed another great show of El Tri to win.

Mexico have in Chicharito Hernández the man to replace Vela, since the Arsenal striker suffered an injury last Thursday. Andrés Guardado seems ready to be in the starting eleven, let’s see if he will be playing from the start tomorrow. Cuautémoc is in a good moment helping from the bench, but it looks difficult for him to play 90 minutes.

Uruguay has a good defense lead by captain Diego Lugano, but also Godín or Fucile make a strong backline. Álvaro Pereira did a great job last two games, but the best part of the team is the attack. Luis Suárez is a goal machine in the Netherlands, so far he only made a play for a penalty, but he is dangerous.

But without a doubt the star of the Charrúas is Diego Forlán, the man of Atlético de Madrid is a synonym of danger creating opportunities on goal every now and then, scoring twice during the victory over South Africa. Mexican defenders will need to be extra careful with Cachabacha Forlán.

In the history between these two sides. There are 17 previews games; five came in official competitions, in 1966 during the World Cup the result was 0-0. Then in 1995 during their campaign to win the continental title, Uruguay draw at home 1-1 with El Tri, in 2001 Mexico defeated the Charrúas in the Copa América in Colombia to reach the final. In 2004 the result in the group stage in Peru was 2-2, and in 2007 Mexico won the 3rd Place playoff match 3-1 in Venezuela.

Overall there are 17 matches played with these squads, Mexico won 7, Uruguay 3 and there were 7 ties.

Tomorrow the last hurdle for Mexico in the Group Stage: Uruguay

Mexico vs. Uruguay
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
4 PM (Local Time) 9 AM (Mexican Time)

Thank you for all your comments, it's a pleasure to receive feedback from everywhere out there I look forward for you to keep following the blog during the World Cup


Posted by David Smith on 06/22/2010

El Tri definitely need to push for the win and get that early goal that has eluded them. Chicharito up front is an upgrade offensively, if not defensively, but I would rather see Franco back in the midfield anyway. I would love to see Guardado (why has he not played?!)on the opposite flank from Dos Santos!

Posted by rich on 06/22/2010

if uruguay loses, doesn't that automatically disqualify south africa? first tiebreaker is head-to-head result.

Posted by Fernando Cásarez on 06/22/2010

The first tiebreaker in FIFA competitions is goal average, head-to-head results is use as first tiebreaker only in UEFA Competitions.

To me head-to-head results is a better way to decide which team advances, but FIFA has their own rules

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Fernando Casarez: Is a 24-year-old sports journalist who has covered World Cup 2006 and the Summer Olympics in 2004 and 2008. He has worked with three different radio stations at home in Mexico and studied for a Masters in Sports Journalism in Spain. He has also won three UEFA competitions to attend three Champions League finals

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