RUSTENBURG, South Africa: Uruguay secured a place in the second round of the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990 when they beat Latin American rivals Mexico 1-0 on Tuesday.
The result meant Uruguay topped Group A and Mexico also went through on goal difference over hosts South Africa.
A well-made and perfectly-taken headed goal by striker Luis Suarez after 43 minutes settled the outcome of their final group clash as Mexico lost their way after an evenly-balanced first half.
In a tightly contested, but open game, with no sign of any intention to play for a draw, Uruguay, champions in 1930 and 1950, had to resist Mexican pressure in the closing stages to keep a third straight clean sheet.
The first half was littered with stoppages, tension seeming to grip both teams.
As the sun went down, Mexico, playing the more intricate football, had the best early chance when Andres Guardado fired in a wicked left-foot drive from 30 metres that rebounded off the bar.
But Uruguay were in no mood to be dazzled or unnerved and, combining strength with pace in attack, they gave as good as they received in an evenly-balanced and, at times, fascinating contest.
Uruguayan midfielder Diego Perez suffered a cut head, apparently from an errant elbow, and required treatment before returning in a vivid blue bandage, just before his side swept ahead after 43 minutes.
Diego Forlan began the move in midfield with a pass to winger Edinson Cavani and from his deep cross the persistently-dangerous Luis Suarez rose at the far post to send a bouncing header past Oscar Perez.
Uruguay almost added to their lead when, from a Forlan free-kick, captain Diego Lugano`s close-range header was well saved and Alvaro Pereira`s follow-up shot was blocked.
Invigorated by three quick substitutions, and their fans, Mexico fought back and almost levelled when Francisco Rodriguez met a Pablo Barrera cross, but headed wide from just six metres.
BDST: 2203hrs, June 22, 2010