Alvaro Pereira's first half strike was enough to seal second place in Group C for the South Americans, who will now face hosts Argentina in the last eight
Uruguay is through to the last eight of the Copa America after defeating Mexico 1-0 at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata. It's three and out for Mexico in the Copa America as El Tri failed to secure a single point in the tournament.
Alvaro Pereira's goal on the quarter-hour mark gave Tabarez's men all three points, which will see them face tournament hosts Argentina in an enticing quarterfinal clash.
Both teams were tense during the initial stages, with more than a few attacking moves halted by untimely slips on the rain-soaked pitch. Perhaps befitting the disjointed tone of the opening exchanges, it was a scrappy goal from Uruguay that opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark.
After Luis Suarez was fouled 20 yards out, Diego Forlan sent a teasing free-kick into the crowded Mexican box which took a deflection on its way to goal. Luis Michel saw it late, and could only palm the ball into the path of Pereira, who made no mistake from barely a yard out.
It took Mexico 24 minutes to register its first real chance of the match, when Giovani Dos Santos broke free down the left flank and forced a decent save from Nestor Muslera, who had been a spectator up until that point.
However, that chance proved to be something of an aberration amid increasing Uruguayan pressure, and Tabarez’s men nearly doubled their lead on the half hour mark. Maximiliano Pereira did well to squeeze in a cross under pressure from the right byline. The ball evaded the Mexican defense and found Forlan, who had time to control the ball, but somehow struck the post from less than 10 yards out.
Uruguay had another chance to grab a second on 36 minutes. Suarez found space and let fly with a bouncing shot from 25 yards out, which Michel did well to tip wide. It proved to be the last meaningful action before referee Raul Orosco blew the whistle for halftime.
The South Americans continued to press in the second half, and Forlan should have done a lot better on 63 minutes when he skied Suarez’ deft cross over the bar from six yards out. Two minutes later, Forlan turned provider for Suarez when he released his strike partner through on goal, but the Liverpool man disappointingly placed his finish wide of the far post.
The chances continued to come for Uruguay, and substitute Nicolas Lodeiro struck the post after he was found at the near post by the lively Suarez on 72 minutes. Not long after that, Forlan carved his way into the box, but once again, his finish deserted him as he fired the ball high over the crossbar.
Despite continuing to look for chances, Uruguay could not find the clinching second goal, and was almost made to pay for its profligacy with ten minutes remaining. Marquez Lugo celebrated thinking that he had leveled El Tri back into the match with a strong finish, but replays showed that he strayed fractionally offside, and the linesman’s flag halted the Mexican celebrations.
It proved to be the closest that the North Americans would get to an equalizer, and Uruguay saw out the last few minutes to seal its place in the last eight.
The win sees Uruguay finish second in Group C on five points, which ensures a date with Group A runners-up Argentina in the quarterfinals.
Peru also qualifies for the last eight, by virtue of its superior record to Group A third-placed team Costa Rica.
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