Uruguay star Diego Forlan would prefer to avoid meeting Argentina in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup™, not because he fears Diego Maradona's in-form side but because he wants as many South American teams to be in the quarter-finals as possible.

Uruguay are sitting pretty at the top of Group A after taking four points from their opening two games and they only need a draw against second-placed Mexico on Tuesday to secure their place in the knockout stages and first place in the pool.

Should they do that then they are likely to avoid Argentina in the next phase, with Maradona's men looking on course to win Group B with victories from their two matches so far.

If that should happen, it would suit Forlan.

"We respect them as they respect us, but as South Americans the further we get the better. If we have to face them further down the line we will do it happily, but for one of us to be eliminated in the last 16 is a waste," said Forlan, who started his professional career with Argentinian side Independiente.

"It's not because of fear, we know that we can win or lose, and they know the same, but because the more South American teams there are later on the better."

Uruguay started their FIFA World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against France and they followed that up in their second game with a 3-0 defeat of hosts South Africa, with Forlan netting twice,

The 1930 and 1950 world champions are now in a great position to qualify for the next phase, but Forlan admits he is not looking too far ahead.

When asked how far he thinks his side can get, the Atletico Madrid striker told Uruguay's El Pais newspaper: "I prefer not to think about it. Everything is very even. There are few teams who have won with ease and those who did have found things complicated in their other match.

"There are some groups that are very tough. The good thing is that we are improving and that the team is looking very solid. We are also playing well, which is very important. At this point the important thing is to qualify and if we can do it in first place then so much the better."