Uruguay made no secret of the fact that they will be supporting Mexico against France on Thursday after they beat FIFA World Cup™ hosts South Africa 3-0 to take control of Group A. Whatever happens on Thursday, Uruguay know that a draw in their final match on June 22 will be enough to see them reach the second round.
But should Mexico beat France then the two Latin American countries will both know that a draw would suffice for both to progress. "We've taken a big step towards the second round but there's still another match to play," said goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who plays his club football with Lazio in Italy. We have to beat Mexico but if Mexico win tomorrow (Thursday) against France, then we'll both go through with a draw."
That was a sentiment shared by striker Edinson Cavani of Italian side Palermo. "It's an important step but we have to keep on improving so we can play even better in the next match," he said. "If Mexico manage to beat France that would be a good result for us but we have to concentrate on our own games so we won't depend on others."
It was a special victory for Uruguay as it was their first in the FIFA World Cup since 1990, while for Muslera there was double cause for celebration as it was also his 24th birthday. "It's really incredible to have won after 20 years," he said. "We played really well. We found the serenity that was missing in our first match against France. It's a really great emotion. We hope to do well and if we keep playing like this, we'll be ok."
Two-goal star Diego Forlan said he hoped people back home would not get too carried away over this win. "We knew we could win this match, we made the most of our chances, defended very well, but it was a pretty even game," said the former Manchester United player who now makes his living at Atletico Madrid. "The people in Uruguay and the journalists can think what they want but we're not thinking about the title. We have to keep our feet on the ground, be realistic and continue to work hard."