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Posted: Monday June 21, 2010 10:06PM ; Updated: Tuesday June 22, 2010 11:41AM
Georgina Turner

Mexico vs. Uruguay World Cup instant analysis

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    So, in the next 90ish minutes, Group A will finish its business and two teams will confirm their places in the World Cup’s last 16. Two other teams will dab their eyes and rejoice in their heroism of the their attempt. Or, in the case of the French, flounce off into the sunset, giving everyone the finger.

    In Rustenburg, where I’ll be focusing my attention, Mexico and Uruguay meet as favorites for the top spots, each needing only a point to qualify. There have been some dark murmurings about a deal between the two nations, but that seems improbable. In 1982 West Germany and Austria met in Group B with a 1-0 German victory the result that would put both through at the expense of Algeria. The Germans scored after 10 minutes and there followed an 80-minute exhibition of sideways passing punctuated by the occasional half-hearted bound towards goal; the crowd barracked the players at the final whistle, shouting “Cowards!” and waving Algerian flags.

     Besides avoiding that kind of reaction, both Mexico and Uruguay would no doubt prefer to avoid Argentina, which will top Group B unless Greece does something radical and takes points from it this evening. And in any case, Mexico and Uruguay both attack better than they defend, and the teamsheets tell you as much:

    Mexico: Oscar Perez, Ricardo Osorio, Francisco Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Carlos Salcido, Gerardo Torrado, Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado, Giovani dos Santos, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Guillermo Franco.

    Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Maxi Pereira, Diego Lugano, Mauricio Victorino, Jorge Fucile, Egidio Arevalo, Diego Perez, Alvaro Pereira, Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, Edinson Cavani.

     “France manage to find a way to lose to a dire South African team, and finish the World Cup goalless,” predicts Action81, and really rather enjoying it, I suspect. “France will win today - it's got to happen,” disagrees PhilSoc8. Tammy’s gone as far as sending me the scores: “Mexico 2-3 Uruguay, France 1-2 South Africa.” I’m going to keep my mouth shut, since I was one David Villa goal from skipping naked around Buenos Aires, hand in hand with Diego Maradona, last night.

     Less detailed anthems analysis than usual, because we all know what they sound like by now: singing, breast-cupping, flag-waving... being distracted from Uruguay's number by close-ups of Raymond Domenech on the other screen. He looks how I do when I trip up in the street and try to look as if I'm not bothered.

  • 1'


    Mexico get things going, as I hear that all the matches played at Rustenburg so far have ended in a draw.

  • 2'

    I'm going to take it as a positive sign that Maxi Pereira just tried to score from about 45 yards. “Mexico 3-1 Uruguay, South Africa 4-1 France,” says brandmelband. “France scores first, 10', Ribery.” If you get that right… er… give yourself a good pat on the back there.

  • 3'

    Mostly Mexico so far, and there's a healthy edge to the contest. I think I might have spied a French shot on goal out of the corner of my eye, but it was Gignac and very, very weak.

  • 6'

    Pereira smacks a free-kick towards goal from distance, shortly before Suarez finds himself in a one on one with Perez only to sidefoot the shot across the face of goal and out.

  • 8'

    Uruguay muscling its way into the match now, putting the Mexican defenders under pressure... then when Mexico break, Perez bumps into Blanco, who reacts like he might need to be hospitalised.

  • 9'

    He doesn't of course. He might have a grazed knee in the morning, though. “France 4-0 South Africa, Uruguay 1-0 Mexico,” reckons Tom Pavlo. “France through, journos rejoice. The stars are aligned.”

  • 11'

    The vuvuzelas are definitely quieter here today, and the fans (predominantly Mexican, I think) are taking advantage with some chest-thumping chants.

  • 13'

    Suarez attempts to chip Oscar Perez but it never looked likely to work. Most play is now in the Mexican half, though. “France easy win and Uruguay Mexico play out the draw,” says John McLauchlin.

  • 15'

    Franco and Victorino come together on the edge of the area as Mexico attack, but the whistle stays away from the referee's lips. Oof, and then Blanco flights a ball over the Uruguay defense and onto the toe of Franco, but he can't control the ball before the keeper gets out to meet him. A fairly even contest so far, without being too much like taking it in turns to attack.

  • 18'

    "The boys at ESPN think we're going to get 60 minutes of play followed by 30 of cerveza and conversation at midfield," Ken Brown informs me. "Think they're right, or do you think the desire to avoid Argentina will get us a full 90 of positive football?" I sense a genuine desire to win this match from both sides - Victorino's just put a header over the bar - and it will only take one goal to really ignite things.

  • 20'

    Khumalo's just put South Africa a goal up against France. Just thought you might want to know. Towering header, Lloris flapping.

  • 21'

    A Pereira blasts a shot wide from close range when the square ball was on to Forlan - and then good lord! - Guardado shoots from miles out and hits the woodwork. Ken, we're definitely on for a game here.

  • 23'

    Oscar Perez has just palmed a cross away from an oncoming Uruguayan forehead. I know we're missing out on any number of France jokes, but this really is a good game so far.

  • 26'

    Speaking of France jokes, I think Gourcuff or Cisse's just been sent off. Not funny to see a stretcher coming on for Sibaya, though.

  • 27'

    It's Gourcuff. Perhaps Domenech could liven things up with a half-time marriage proposal.

  • 28'

    Giovani concedes a free-kick for trying a little too hard to reach the ball in the box, but he's looking good today.

  • 30'

    Good chance for Giovani again, but he's trying all the time to get the ball onto his left and ends up sprawled on the floor.

  • 33'

    Forlan's barely put a foot wrong so far today, but the Mexicans are doubling up in defense.

  • 36'

    Bit of a quiet spell as a blood injury to Diego Perez holds things up. "France is down 1-0 and now one man down?" queries Alex Texcucano Jr. "It's like they're trying to bomb out. They're stinking up so bad they should be known as Le Bleu Cheese."

  • 37'

    Mphela's just walked the ball into the net for South Africa's second. Stop laughing. No really. It's unkind.

  • 40'

    Hopefully the South African score won't prevent Mexico really going for the game now. If it defends what it's got, it's going through. If it concedes, things get a bit tense in the old goal difference column.

  • 41'

    "France is a team without spirit, without heart" - watch Univision, and I'm told you get that sort of lyricism. Here, stinky cheese.

  • 43'

    1-0 Uruguay

    Goal - Suarez

    GOAL! Suarez has put Uruguay in front!

    Well now, this'll get the vuvuzelas parping at the other match. Wonderful cross from Cavani, straight onto Suarez's head, from where it drops neatly inside the post.

  • 46'


    To clarify, if Uruguay scores another, and South Africa another, South Africa and Mexico be level on points and goal difference.

    A Uruguay corner is halted by the half-time whistle.

    I shall be back in a few moments for what promises to be a rather splendid second half rollercoaster.

  • 47'


    Out: Guardado , In: Barrera

    And we're off. Barrera has come on in place of Guardado, who I thought had actually done rather well before the break.

    Blanco strokes a weak free-kick over the wall and straight into Muslera's arms. Mexico start with the right kind of attacking intent, mind. “How much of the French circus act can be blamed to coaching staff and management?” wonders Vic in Jefferson NY. “Does Platini have anything in this? Or just spoiled players?” I’m not sure there’s anyone involved in the French camp who hasn’t donned a pair of oversized trousers and a red nose, recently. I hear http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5csNO3oMrQ”>this</a> is the new French national anthem, for soccer purposes.

  • 50'

    Mexico might look a bit more dangerous with someone other than Blanco on the pitch; he's playing as a man of his build ordinarily does.

  • 52'

    Mphela's just hit the post as South Africa once again makes light work of the French defense. Here, Giovani bursts into the area but lands on his backside.

  • 53'

    “YIKES! Don't like this,” says JT in Chicago. “Host nation needs to advance, Mexico always provides heartbreak. Expect goalfest for South Africa… very nervous, getting that ‘headed out the WC door’ feeling.”

  • 54'

    That was close! Lugano plants his head on a free-kick and Perez just about scoops it away from his goal.

  • 55'


    Out: Moreno , In: Castro

    Watch through your fingers, if you must, JT - Uruguay has a corner... ... but Suarez makes about as fine a connection with the ball as Perez, showing off his Superman impression.

  • 60'

    Uruguay has enjoyed most the possession in the last few minutes, and isn't in too much of a hurry to do anything with it.

  • 62'

    "What kind of coach does not put Thierry Henry on for a game against Mexico or South Africa?" asks an apparently outraged Marvin in Brooklyn, NY. I refer you to the 47th minute, Marvin.

  • 63'


    Out: Blanco , In: Hernandez

    Finally, Blanco is put out of our agony, and Javier Hernandez appears in his stead. He instantly plays Giovani in, but the Uruguayan defender (don't ask me which one) gets a foot in.

  • 64'

    How Rodriguez missed that header, I don't know. I'm not sure that's even possible.

  • 66'

    "The Irish in me is thrilled to see France's poor showing in the World Cup," cackles Bill Hollister, to be sure. "Mexico better get going because Bafana Bafana is gaining on them and the French don't show any signs of stopping them." The Mexicans are knocking at the door, just not with bailiff levels of menace.

  • 66'

    "The Irish in me is thrilled to see France's poor showing in the World Cup," cackles Bill Hollister, to be sure. "Mexico better get going because Bafana Bafana is gaining on them and the French don't show any signs of stopping them." The Mexicans are knocking at the door, just not with bailiff levels of menace.

  • 67'

    Yellow Card - Fucile

    Fucile is booked for attempting to mount Giovani.

  • 70'

    Mexico is finding some space just in front of the penalty area, but the last ball once its inside is either cut out or overhit.

  • 71'

    France has scored, it seems - the replay showed Malouda popping the ball into an empty net...

  • 72'

    That eases the pressure on Mexico, which is probably just as well. I can't help thinking the sensible option would have been removing Franco rather than Guardado, since he's not played much better than Blanco.

  • 75'

    The Mexican crowd is great value. I'm guessing they've just heard the other score.

  • 76'


    Out: Pereira , In: Scotti

    Alvaro Pereira, looking rather anguished, is replaced by Andres Scotti.

  • 77'

    Yellow Card - Hernandez

    Hernandez is booked for sticking his arm into Victorino's face. Let's try that corner again, shall we?

    Ooh blimey, maybe not.

  • 80'

    As Death Cab for Cutie might sing, in amiably merry fashion, this is the sound of settling.

  • 82'

    Having strayed forwards for the first time in a good while, Uruguay earns a corner, its fifth of the game, for those of you who like to make a note of such things. It comes to nothing after Lugano tries to leapfrog Franco

  • 84'


    Out: Suarez , In: Alvaro Fernandez

    If Franco's first touch on a ball through from Salcido had been anything other than rancid, Mexico would be level now. Suarez is replaced, quite slowly, by Alvaro Fernandez.

  • 85'

    Yellow Card - Castro

    Castro, who's been playing at 'furiously boiling' temperature in the last 10 minutes, is booked for a studs-up challenge on Perez.

  • 87'

    Yellow Card - Castro

    Cavani goes for goal having nudged the ball into space just outside the area, and forces a flying save from Perez

  • 89'

    On this evidence, you'd fancy Uruguay to be in the pot for the quarter-finals - their likely opponents will be anyone but Argentina from Group B. South Korea might give them a game, but they've handled Mexico without ever looking overstretched.

  • 91'

    Diego Perez punts a ball in the general direction of the goal, only several storeys above it. I think we might have one more minute.

  • 93'


    Uruguay ends the match in possession of the ball and top spot in Group A. France and South Africa will be going home.

    We'll have to wait until later to find out who escapes Group B and in what order, but it's almost certain that Uruguay will now avoid Argentina for now. "Ohhhh Georgina, can you imagine how exhilarating the Mexico v Argentina game will be??" asks an excitable Marvin - you know, from Brooklyn. "Can't wait".

Editor's note: Please refresh for updates.

Forgive us for suspecting that this match might prove more enjoyable for everybody than France vs. South Africa; I will have both matches on, so if France does indeed score 12 and this match is drawn 0-0, you'll know about it.

Mexico has played with joyful goal-lust so far, and though Uruguay was put under by France's soporific approach to tournament football in its first appearance, Diego Forlan led a spirited return to life against South Africa. In the last two meetings between these two, Mexico has emerged victorious, and enjoys the overall historical advantage (seven wins to three). Not sure there's so much to choose between them now, but I'm certainly expecting to have more to write about than the poor soul who offered live play-by-play analysis of their last World Cup meeting in 1966. The 0-0 draw meant hardly any pigeons got a fly-out that day.

Kick off is at 10 a.m. ET, so I'll be online shortly before that to bring you team news and all that jazz. Get your emails to georgina.turner.si@gmail.com. I insist.

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