Uruguay defeated Mexico 1-0 Tuesday to become the overall winner of Group A at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Uruguay’s hope for the World Cuplooked in jeopardy in qualifying stages, but now they are atop one of the toughest groups in the tournament.
Luis Suarez scored the game winner in the 43rd minute of the match heading in a cross from Edinson Cavani for his first score of the tournament. South American teams have fared well in the tournament so far winning nine of 11 matches.
“We knew we had two results that benefited us,” said Suarez. “But before the match our goal was to get the three points and be group leaders. Luckily we reached our first goal, which was to advance from the first round.”
The Mexicans failed to win the group, but advanced to the knockout stages despite the 1-0 loss. Uruguay earned the top spot in the group by not allowing a goal in their first three games. They will face the first and second place teams from Group B.
South Africa beat France 2-1 to deny either team’s advancement in the tournament. Mexico survived elimination on superior goal differential. Bafana Bafana had a -2 differential, while El Tricolor finished with +1. Both teams finished with four points.
Uruguay finished with seven overall points and a +4 goal differential. Their results included a 0-0 draw with France in their opening match, and a 3-0 trouncing of South Africa.
“The important thing is that we qualified in first place,” said Uruguay star Diego Forlan after the match. “They controlled the ball well and in truth it was quite hard for us.”
There were rumors that the two teams might play for a draw in favor of resting players. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was insulted by the rumors, and sent his to the pitch with victory as the goal.
“It’s an insult to the coaches and players. Both teams came out looking for something,” Tabarez said.
Mexican players were down after their defeat in the last match of group play. Rafael Marquez will gain new motivation to not end their World Cup journey on the same note.
“It leaves a bitter taste,” Marquez said of the outcome. “We’re all unhappy with this result and with today’s performance. We’ll have to improve now.”
Soccer sportsbooks have set the Mexicans as 50/1 underdogs to win the tournament outright. The Uruguayans have a slightly better chance at 16/1.