Watch VideoPlay Video
RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) - Uruguay secured top spot in Group A with a 1-0 win over Mexico on Tuesday, although the Mexicans still advanced to the knockout round at the expense of host South Africa.
Luis Suarez scored the winner in the 43rd minute after running unmarked to the back post and heading in Edinson Cavani's cross for his first goal of the tournament.
Mexico advanced to the round of 16 thanks to better goal difference than South Africa, which beat France 2-1. Uruguay and Mexico went into the last group game sharing the lead on four points and needed only a draw to advance but they both fielded attacking lineups. Even so the game yielded few clear scoring chances.
"The important thing is that we qualified in first place," Uruguay striker Diego Forlan said. "They controlled the ball well and in truth it was quite hard for us."
Uruguay, which didn't concede a goal in the first round to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 1990, ended the group phase with seven points.
Mexico and South Africa both finished with four points.
"It leaves a bitter taste," Mexican midfielder Rafael Marquez said of the outcome. "We're all unhappy with this result and with today's performance. We'll have to improve now."
Mexico coach Javier Aguirre preserved an attacking lineup that helped his team beat France 2-0 in its last game. Veteran striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco, at 37 the oldest outfield player at the tournament, replaced the injured Carlos Vela as Mexico retained its 4-3-3 formation.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez made just one change to the lineup that beat South Africa 3-0, bringing in defender Mauricio Vitorino for Diego Godin.
But the match was mostly subdued. Forlan, who scored twice and set up another goal against the host nation, never sparkled.
|Uruguay secured top spot in Group A with a 1-0 win over Mexico on Tuesday, although |
the Mexicans still advanced to the knockout round at the expense of host South Africa.