Classy Uruguay top Group A

Uruguay finished on top of Group A after they edged Mexico 1-0 here on Tuesday. Ajax forward Luis Suarez nodded in the winner two minutes before the break off a cross from Edinson Cavani at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. Despite the loss, Mexico advanced to last 16 as runners-up.

South Africa’s two-goal lead against at Bloemfontein at the break had made the large contingent of Mexico fans here jittery. But Frenchman Florent Malouda’s 68th-minute strike settled their jangling nerves.
South Africa had to beat France by four goals to advance to the next round (provided Mexico went down to Uruguay 0-1), but Malouda crushed their dream with a tap-in.
When the news of the French goal filtered through to Rustenburg, the Mexican fans celebrated wildly. They knew that the hosts now had to score three more goals in 20-odd minutes.
Uruguay, much to the disappointment of Bafana Bafana fans here, took didn’t press hard for a bigger win.
Conspiracy theorists will certainly have some fodder to chew on, as both Uruguay and Mexico never played their final group stage match at full throttle.
Mexico, served well by the tireless running of Giovanni dos Santos, started brightly only to fade away as the match progressed. Draw seemed to be on top of their agenda. Mexican coach Javier Aguirre’s pre-match assertion that his team would go for a win proved to be a smokescreen.
Uruguay were pedestrian in the first quarter. Suarez had his team’s best chance as he burst through from the right. But he fired his shot over under no apparent pressure.
The pace of the match never reached the exciting heights it would have had the contest been a do-or-die one for both. With a place in the next round at stake, neither side showed the verve.

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