Mexico vs Uruguay – draw is far from foregone conclusion
There is a somewhat cynical expectation that Mexico and Uruguay will coast to a boring draw, which would see both qualify for the last 16, when they play on Tuesday at 3pm.
The team that finishes second in Group A, however, will face Argentina in the second round. This should prove enough of a deterrent for the sides to settle for a point.
Both teams enter the tie on four points and they are inseparably priced at 3/1 each to win this pivotal fixture.
Uruguay currently lead Group A on goal difference, and it could be their superior strike power which sees the South Americans claim victory.
The two sides have a keenly contested rivalry. In 17 encounters, Mexico have the upper hand with seven wins, while Uruguay have tasted victory on three occasions.
Seven draws between the sides indicate how closely matched these two nations are, and they are separated by just one place in the FIFA world rankings, with Uruguay in 16th and Mexico 17th.
Mexico have been impressive recently, recording 10 victories in their last 16 matches. Their latest two wins are particularly notable as they have been against France and World Cup holders Italy.
Uruguay have been in similarly good shape having won six of their last nine fixtures. And having crushed South Africa’s World Cup hopes with a 3-0 win, they will be full of confidence.
Diego Forlan could well be the dangerman for Uruguay. The Atletico Madrid forward will have already crossed swords in La Liga with Barcelona’s Rafael Marquez, who will captain Mexico from a holding midfield role.
Marquez will have to be at his composed best if he is to stifle the threat of Forlan, who is 9/2 favourite to open the scoring.
Mexico will also be a threat going forward, and Javier Hernandez is 6/1 to be the first to score in this crucial tie.
Hernandez cold be foiled, however, by a Uruguayan defence which has yet to concede at the World Cup.
Diego Godin and Diego Lugano are a formidable centre-back partnership, and if they can frustrate Mexico as they have done France and South Africa, Uruguay will be well set to progress to the round of 16 as Group A winners.