A draw between Uruguay and Mexico on Tuesday would see both teams advance out of Group A. The incentive to be group champion - and likely avoiding Argentina in the round of 16 - means the two sides will be pushing for victory.
Uruguay and Mexico each have four points through two matches, but Uruguay has the inside track for first place in Group A with a plus-3 goal differential, while Mexico is plus-2. A draw would give La Celeste the top spot in the group and relegate Mexico to second, which would put El Tri into a matchup with likely Group B winner Argentina.
The runner-up in Group B could be Greece, South Korea or Nigeria depending on the outcomes of matches Tuesday.
Uruguay put itself in this position with a 3-0 romp over host South Africa on Wednesday, and is on the verge of getting out of group play for the first time since 1990. Diego Forlan opened the scoring with a 25-yard blast that dipped under the crossbar in the 24th minute before securing the three points with a penalty kick in the 80th minute.
"Obviously, as a forward I like to score goals, but the important thing is to win,'' Forlan said. ``The team is good. ... We're very solid.''
Alvaro Pereira added what right now is a critical goal deep in injury time for La Celeste, who have yet to concede a goal in South Africa after holding France to a scoreless draw. Uruguay has shown itself to be a versatile team that can play defensively or push forward for goals.
Mexico can win Group A with a victory, and enters this match confident after defeating France 2-0 on Thursday. Coach Javier Aguirre used all three of his substitutions astutely, with Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco coming off the bench to score second-half goals for El Tri.
Hernandez has played well in both matches as a substitute, and is pushing for a spot in the starting lineup. Aguirre, though, still prefers to bring the 22-year-old off the bench and start veteran Guillermo Franco, who often backtracks to help the midfielders retain possession.
``Javier asks me to makes sacrifices and help (Gerardo) Torrado and (Rafael) Marquez to recover the ball'' in midfield, Franco said. ``My job is at times more defensive, to keep the ball."
Aguirre may not even have to make that decision since forward Carlos Vela is doubtful for this match after suffering a leg injury in the first half versus France. Paul Aguilar likely will return to the starting lineup to replace right back Efrain Juarez, who will sit after picking up two yellow cards in two matches.
Mexico is trying to reach the second round for the fifth consecutive World Cup. Blanco and defender Rafael Marquez can tie the national record by appearing in an 11th World Cup match if either play Tuesday.