RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AFP) - The coaches of Mexico and Uruguay joined forces on Monday to dismiss suggestions they might collude to produce the draw that would put both their teams into the World Cup last 16.
The state of play in Group A has led to fears that Tuesday's match between the Latin American countries could degenerate into a stalemate which would allow both of them to advance and carve France and South Africa out of the tournament.
Mexican coach Javier Aguirre and his Uruguayan counterpart Oscar Tabarez described that scenario as unthinkable.
"This is the first time I have heard anything about some kind of implicit pact but we are going to go out there to try and win," Aguirre said after his side's eve-of-match training session at the Royal Bafokeng stadium.
"Let us hope football will be the winner, that there will be a robust match and that the best side will win.
"If as a consequence of what happens on the pitch there is a draw and both sides qualify we will both be happy. But I can assure you we will both be going for a win."
Tabarez added: "I think all this talk is people being imaginative and lacking respect for the players and coaches who will actually be playing tomorrow. But talk is cheap, so let's just leave it there."
Asked if the fear of losing could see the match reduced to a non-competitive encounter, Tabarez replied: "We have to see tomorrow but there is no reason to believe in what you said. We will see how the match unfolds but there is nothing premeditated."
Mexico go into the match on the back of a famous win over France and have never lost to Uruguay in a competitive match. But it is Tabarez's squad who have arguably looked the more impressive here, having held France to a draw and then beaten hosts South Africa 3-0.
Aguirre, who coached Mexico at the 2002 finals and as a player was a member of the squad that reached the 1986 quarter-finals, added: "I don't need to say anything to my players, they know what is at stake.
"This is a very open group, no-one has a ticket for the last 16. We're cool, calm and collected and we are only thinking about winning tomorrow."
A draw on Tuesday would leave Uruguay and Mexico both on five points, out of reach of both France and South Africa, and the Uruguayans would top the group on goal difference.
"Up until now, Uruguay has been the best team in the group so we need to be highly motivated against them," Aguirre added. "That's what we tried to convey to my players, we need those three points tomorrow."
The fact that the side which finishes second in the group is likely to face Argentina provides an incentive for Mexico to try and win the match, but Aguirre would not be drawn on speculating about potential match-ups in the knockout stage.
"We have to try and impose our game and our style, try to do better than Uruguay. After we've done that I can answer any questions. At the moment we have nothing. This group stage is not over yet."
Tabarez also insisted he had not given a second thought to the issue of avoiding Uruguay's neighbours and bitter rivals.
"It is certainly not a question of praying or lighting candles in the hope of playing one team or another one," he said.
"What we want to do is qualify and top the group if we can but not because we want to avoid Argentina. What if Greece beat Argentina and they end up second in their group? It is not likely but it is not impossible."
Mexico will be without injured striker Carlos Vela and suspended defender Efrain Juarez while Uruguay have confirmed their side will be unchanged from the one which outclassed South Africa.
|I´m just taking a sabbatical - Van Gaal denies he´s retired|
|Not even Gerrard won Premier League - Buttner says he´s not a United flop|
|Samper ignored Wenger as Barca midfielder rejected Arsenal|
|Pleased Pioli wants more from Inter|
|Evergrande boss Scolari dismisses Turan links|
|Klopp seeks legal advice over Matip|
|Marseille complete Sanson move|
|Inter 3 Bologna 2: Candreva prevents remarkable turnaround in Coppa Italia thriller|
|FA Cup Review: Non-league Lincoln stun Ipswich, Burnley and Palace through|
|Gabon v Burkina Faso: Aubameyang says hosts have learned from Guinea-Bissau setback|
|Mali 0 Egypt 0: El-Hadary makes history in stalemate|
|El-Hadary oldest AFCON player ever - 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper makes history|
|Reus and Gotze on target but Bender injured in Dortmund win|
|Toure shunning lavish China interest to stay at City, says Seluk|
|Rahman´s AFCON in the balance, says Ghana boss Grant|
|Just 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets - How Vertonghen blow could impact Tottenham|
|Ghana 1 Uganda 0: Andre Ayew hands Black Stars nervy victory|
|Swansea snap up Carroll and Olsson in double swoop|
|All is forgiven? - Costa trains with full Chelsea squad after reported Conte bust-up|
|I would throw myself off a bridge for Luis Enrique - Rakitic dismisses Barca rift rumours|
|Was Juventus´ new logo inspired by tennis star?|
|Smooth sailing for Liverpool in Plymouth? Klopp expects tough test|
|Demichelis re-joins Malaga until end of season|
|Cameroon v Guinea-Bissau: Broos urges new heroes to emerge|
|Boxing champ hits Carragher with Chinese Super League comeback prank|
|Zidane backs Navas and defends Benzema as Madrid aim to bounce back|
|Deportivo bring in Kakuta from Hebei after CSL rule changes|
|Matip could miss eight games without doing anything wrong - Klopp|
|United trigger Valencia´s contract extension|
|Ronaldo returns to Real Madrid´s Copa squad|
|FA fine Sagna for Instagram post|
|Nedved does not foresee more January business for Juventus|
|Rafinha injury blow for Barcelona|
|Villas-Boas fumes at CSL foreign player crackdown|
|Ibrahimovic invaluable to Manchester United youngsters - Rashford|
|Robben rejected China move|
|A-League review: Phoenix rise to the occasion to end Victory´s streak|
|Van Gaal slams English media over treatment at Manchester United|
|Mignolet: Liverpool in better position to win title than in 2013-14|
|Giroud wants Premier League title but understands China temptations|
|Tianjin forced to scrap moves for Costa, Benzema, Cavani and Falcao|
|My goal was better than Mkhitaryan´s - Giroud|
|Pochettino not interested in Argentina job|
|Kane: Tottenham can win Premier League|
|Corinthians dreaming of Drogba - Paulo Roberto|
|Coutinho calls for Liverpool focus|
|Chiellini compares Pogba to LeBron and Bolt|
|Maradona to become Napoli ambassador|
|Mihajlovic furious after Torino collapse|
|Icardi has offers from China - Wanda Nara|
|Pogba can cope with pressure - Ibrahimovic|
|´My half-time words will stay in the dressing room´ - Montella annoyed with AC Milan|
|Juventus unveil dramatic change to club logo - but not everyone´s a fan|
|´I do not think I will return to coaching´ - Van Gaal set to call it quits|
|Torino 2 AC Milan 2: Bacca caps thrilling comeback as hosts pay the penalty|
|DR Congo 1 Morocco 0: Kabananga pounces on blunder to give 10 men the points|
|´Happy and comfortable´ Sanchez dismisses Arsenal exit talk|
|How much?! West Ham flop Simone Zaza could cost Valencia €20m|
|Mali v Egypt: Salah leads Pharaohs´ bid for AFCON glory|
|Sevilla concede they ´cannot force´ sporting director Monchi to stay|
|Ivory Coast 0 Togo 0: Reigning champions held to opening draw by Adebayor and co.|
|Goalkeeping woes, Stones and tactical confusion - How Guardiola is making life difficult for himself|
|Ozil and Sanchez can be persuaded to stay - Cech|
|Pogba: I rejected Barcelona and Real Madrid|
|Ghana v Uganda: Gyan dreams of first trophy since 1982|
|Chiellini: Juventus a work in progress|
|Robben agrees Bayern renewal until 2018|
|Hazard: Goals do not matter to me|
|Bennell pleads not guilty to eight child sex offences|
|Muller fed up with debate over Bayern role|
|Wenger glad Sanchez is not ´a Costa problem´|
|Flick resigns as DFB´s sporting director|
|Gomis ´can´t wait´ to welcome Payet to Marseille|
|Chinese FA changes foreign player rules after ´irrational´ spending|
|Like father, like son: Justin Kluivert follows in dad´s footsteps|
|´No reason to lose him´ - Marotta rubbishes talk of Allegri exit|
|Courtois: We don´t need Costa|
|Kane: Tottenham players won´t go to China|
|Noble ´angry and disappointed´ with Payet|
|Klopp furious over Matip uncertainty|
|Wenger surprised by tight Premier League|
|´Money is not everything´ - Conte issues warning amid China speculation|
|Fiorentina defeat a ´bad setback´ - Allegri|
|´This will elevate this group of players´ - Sampaoli revels in Sevilla late show|