Soccer  > World Cup  > Mexico reaches second round despite loss
June 22, 2010, 12:50 PM
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RUSTENBERG, South Africa - Mexico advanced to the second round of the World Cup for the fifth consecutive time, reaching the knockout phase despite a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.

El Tri finished with four points in Group A, three points behind Uruguay and qualified on goal difference ahead of South Africa, which defeated France 2-1 in its final group match. The Bafana Bafana became the first World Cup host to not advance past the first round.

Mexico will face the Group B winner in the second round on Sunday, likely Argentina -- which would be a rematch of their knockout-phase meeting four years ago when los Albicelestes eliminated El Tri 2-1 in extra time.

The Mexicans have qualified for every World Cup since it was banned from the tournament in 1990 for using an overage player in a youth tournament, and have reached the round-of-16 - but advanced no further - each time. Twice it reached the quarterfinals, in 1970 and 1986 when it hosted the World Cup.

Luis Suarez gave Uruguay the lead in the 43rd minute, finishing a counter out of midfield started by Diego Forlan. His through ball down the right was struck first time by Edinson Cavani to the back post, where an unmarked Suarez headed in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Both sides had their chances in a back-and-forth first half, with Mexico's closest coming when Andres Guardado's 35-meter strike crashed off the crossbar in the 22nd minute.

Uruguay threatened on several occasions, but Suarez shot wide in the sixth minute, Mauricio Victorino put a header high in the 18th minute and Alvaro Perreira pulled his shot wide of the near post in the 21st.

Mexico manager Javier Aguirre was forced to start 37-year-old striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco, a substitute in the first two matches, after Carlos Vela pulled a muscle in his left thigh in the first half against France on Thursday. Mexican management has not given a prognosis on how it expects Vela to be out.

Aguirre inserted Pablo Barrera for Guardado to start the second half and then added Israel Castro for Hector Moreno in the 57th and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez for Blanco in the 63rd.

Barrera set up Mexico's best chance for an equalizer in the 64th, sending a ball across the face of goal that Francisco Rodriguez headed wide of the far post from the edge of the goal box.

El Tri had the majority of possession over the 90 minutes, particularly in the second half. However, it failed to produce many quality chances after Suarez scored.

Group A

x-advanced to second round
Friday, June 11
South Africa 1, Mexico 1
Uruguay 0, France 0
Wednesday, June 16
South Africa 0, Uruguay 3
Thursday, June 17
France 0, Mexico 2
Tuesday, June 22
Mexico 0, Uruguay 1
France 1, South Africa 2

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