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Mexico vs. Uruguay: Will they play for a tie?

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Dylan Martinez/Reuters

(Read caption) EL TRI: A fan holds Mexico's tri-colored flag ahead of today's Mexico vs. Uruguay 2010 World Cup match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa.

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The math is simple going into today's Mexico vs. Uruguay game: The one point each team would earn with a tie is enough to send both teams on to the second round of the World Cup.

So why not play for a tie?

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It's an alluring prospect given how hard each team has fought just to get to this stage, how many hours of practice each player has put in, the amount of mental energy each manager, coach, and trainer has expended.

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With the hopes and pressures of a nation riding on each team's shoulders, why risk losing the match and giving France or South Africa a chance to move on at your expense?

The reason they'll fight for the win comes down to one word: Argentina.

Whoever finishes No. 2 in Group A will have to face the winner of Group B. That's likely to be Argentina, the team that, thus far, most closely resembles a World Cup champion. With the world's best player in Lionel Messi, Argentina's been playing beautiful soccer and manhandling their opponents.

If Mexico ties Uruguay today, Uruguay will finish first in the group because they will have a better goal differential.

Then El Tri will face Argentina, which is pretty much like being thrown into a lion's den.

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If Mexico beats Uruguay, they would face either Nigeria, Greece, or South Korea, any of which would be a much easier opponent.

So don't expect the two cautious teams to go too easy on each other.

Mexico, especially, will be looking to strike early and often, just as they did a few days ago when they upset the last World Cup runners-up, France, 2-0.

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