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.
|Blind backed to stay on by KNVB director|
|Coleman urges Wales to ´do something special´ at Euro 2016|
|Blind wants to remain Netherlands coach after Euro 2016 qualifying heartbreak|
|Kompany proud to lead Belgium to the top of the world|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Turkey seal dramatic qualification as Croatia edge through to France|
|Conte praises Italy´s grit and intensity|
|Sneijder: Blind not to blame|
|CAF World Cup Qualifying Review: Niger thump Somalia|
|Motherwell bring back McGhee as manager|
|Wales 2 Andorra 0: Ramsey and Bale see off stubborn minnows in Cardiff|
|Belgium 3 Israel 1: Mertens, De Bruyne and Hazard seal top spot|
|Italy 2 Norway 1: Comeback denies Hogmo´s men automatic qualification|
|Netherlands 2 Czech Republic 3: Dutch miss out on play-off spot|
|AFC World Cup Qualifying Review: Jordan extend lead over Australia|
|Ex-UEFA chief Johansson denies knowledge of Blatter-Platini payment|
|Injured Aguero returns to Manchester|
|Blanc casts doubt on Ibrahimovic´s PSG future|
|Alexandre Pato will cost €25m - Corinthians executive|
|Allardyce opens to door to possible Nolan swoop|
|Mertesacker: Chambers destined to become one of the best|
|Evra still upset over Manchester United exit|
|Cardona reminds me of James - Pekerman|
|Monchengladbach hit by Xhaka, Schulz injuries|
|Bebe looking to win big move with Rayo form|
|McClaren laments Newcastle´s Krul blow|
|Suarez: Barcelona lack last season´s punch|
|Iran 1 Japan 1: Muto strike cancels out Torabi opener|
|Baptistao eyes Europa League success with Villarreal|
|Ronaldo: Brazil will face more difficulties|
|Tottenham have out-run everyone, Kane warns Liverpool|
|Welbeck certain Rooney´s goal drought will end|
|Payet slams ´unjust´ France snub|
|Bayern confirm Coman injury not serious|
|Fabregas: Spain want third consecutive European title|
|South Korea 3 Jamaica 0: Ki on target in confident victory|
|´Exceptional´ Ronaldo can win another Golden Shoe - Perez|
|Cristiano Ronaldo: I now want fifth Golden Shoe|
|Allardyce demands defensive improvement at Sunderland|
|Darmian: Joining Manchester United an easy decision|
|Wenger criticism is unfair - Welbeck|
|Hulk urges Brazil to win back fans|
|Vidal puts his career at risk for Chile, says Medel|
|Of course I want new Barcelona deal - Neymar|
|Di Natale backs Balotelli to lead Italy at Euro 2016|
|De Gea: I´m better than ever before|
|Butland fires warning to Hart|
|Allardyce: I love winding up ´arrogant´ Wenger|
|Arsenal´s lack of success could see them miss out on Kokorin - agent|
|Welbeck targets January return for Arsenal|
|Rakitic: We´ll win for Modric|
|Ballon d´Or is reserved for Messi - Neymar|
|Dortmund dismiss Aubameyang exit talk|
|Perisic ´decisive like Robben´ - Suker|
|Ferdinand: Fergie´s captaincy snub upset me|
|De Bruyne hungry for more goals|
|Dunga: Brazil are frustrated and lack reaction|
|Dani Alves: Time for Brazil to focus|
|I believed we would finish unbeaten - Hodgson|
|Del Bosque expects selection headache for Euro 2016|
|Ukraine 0 Spain 1: Hundred-cap Fabregas falters from the spot|
|Lithuania 0 England 3: Hodgson´s men make it a perfect 10|
|Fabregas reaches 100 Spain caps|
|Excited Conte targets top-four Euro 2016 showing|
|Spain pair Casillas and De Gea show the way for Rico|
|Liverpool not title candidates under Klopp - Barnes|
|Manchester United important to Northern Ireland success|
|Tevez cannot operate like Messi - Martino|
|Pele questions Brazil unity after qualifying loss|
|Ancelotti: Roma have the most quality in Serie A|
|Ghana v Canada: Hoilett desperate for international debut|
|Cruyff: Netherlands painful to watch|
|´No hatred´ between Bale and Ronaldo, claims Wales star´s agent|
|Mexico v Panama: Ferretti prepares for farewell|
|Wright signs new deal to end Dundee United speculation|
|Real Madrid are not making Bale demands, insists Coleman|
|Toure, Aubameyang and Salah lead CAF Player of the Year nominations|
|Neuer, De Gea the Messi and Ronaldo of goalkeeping - Ferguson|
|Sakho slams PSG over Coman treatment|
|Former FIFA Executive Committee member Makudi suspended|
|Mancini: It´s time for Inter to beat Juventus again|
|Blind talks down Depay, Van Persie row claims|
|Van Persie: Vieira inspired me to be strong mentally|
|Klopp will not ruin his reputation by raiding Dortmund - Rauball|
|Wolfsburg confirm Embolo interest|
|Sigurdsson looked up to Beckham, Lampard|
|Uruguay still a threat without Cavani and Suarez - Arias|
|PSG better than Bayern - Zidane|
|Allardyce: I deserved the England job in 2006|
|Baker: I will return to Chelsea a better player|
|I have no contact with Luis Enrique - Barca B captain Grimaldo|
|Carlo Ancelotti wants Premier League return|
|Klopp: I won´t poach Dortmund players|
|Xavi: I would have liked to play for Manchester United|
|Ronaldo´s success largely down to Benzema - Ancelotti|
|Willian ignoring his Brazil critics|
|Messi rivalry spurs on Ronaldo - Zidane|
|Klopp needs time and money - Hitzlsperger|
|United States v Costa Rica: Under-fire Klinsmann standing firm|
|Giroud satisfied with France contribution|
|Hodgson rejects easy cap claims|
|Honduras v South Africa: Mashaba´s men want consistency|
|Spain to play Belgium in November friendly|
|Lallana ´very excited´ by Klopp arrival|
|Santos: Serbia deserved to finish second|
|Iordanescu: Romania should´ve qualified earlier|
|De Biasi revels in Albania´s historic Euro 2016 berth|
|Reus misses sum up Germany´s problems - Low|
|Krul ´devastated´ after being ruled out for season|
|Lewandowski insists Poland fully deserve Euro 2016 spot|
|Deschamps urges France players to give him selection headaches|
|Hummels: Germany must seize attacking opportunities|