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.
|Hoffenheim boss Nagelsmann dismisses Arsenal and Chelsea links|
|Gattuso, Mirabelli apologise to Milan fans after ´embarrassing´ Benevento loss|
|Iniesta to make decision on his future public ´this week´|
|United want to win everything next year, says Wembley hero Sanchez|
|Cardiff edge Forest to boost promotion push|
|Bartomeu confirms Iniesta has an ´offer´ amid Chinese Super League reports|
|Messi second player to score in five Copa finals|
|Mourinho challenges Alexis after Wembley star turn|
|Vieira ready for Arsenal job, says Guardiola|
|FA Cup win would represent successful season - Conte|
|Guardiola: I want Manchester City to be a Premier League machine|
|Sevilla 0 Barcelona 5: Suarez and Messi lead crushing Copa final win|
|AC Milan 0 Benevento 1: Rossoneri suffer again as bottom side stave off relegation...for now|
|Semi-final pain for frustrated Kane|
|London stay was crucial to FA Cup Wembley win - Mourinho|
|Pochettino: Spurs need four more years – with me or another|
|He has not delivered optimal performances - Stoger explains Schmelzer omission|
|Modric open to Ibrahimovic union in MLS|
|Spurs can´t keep doing this – Alli|
|Heynckes highlights importance of ´psychology´ before Real Madrid clash|
|United are about winning titles and playing finals, says happy Herrera|
|Pogba and United the comeback kings again|
|Giroud thanks Wenger for making his ´dream come true´|
|Borussia Dortmund 4 Bayer Leverkusen 0: Reus and Sancho star as Stoger´s side go third|
|Manchester United 2 Tottenham 1: Sanchez and Herrera seal comeback to book FA Cup final spot|
|Zaha´s no diver, insists Hodgson|
|Championship Review: Wolves win title, Sunderland relegated|
|Wilson backs Wenger for international role|
|West Brom comeback branded ´useless´ by Klopp|
|Injured Kyrgios doubtful for French Open|
|Lewandowski breaks Bundesliga record in Bayern Munich victory|
|Watford 0 Crystal Palace 0: Stalemate edges both sides closer to survival|
|Inter not inferior to Roma and Lazio, Spalletti insists|
|Pogba and Sanchez start for Manchester United at Wembley|
|Klopp applauds Ings´ performance|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski breaks Bundesliga record|
|Livermore urges West Brom to ´keep fighting´ as relegation looms|
|Klopp blames ´dry pitch´ and referee for West Brom draw|
|Salah finds the net again to equal Premier League scoring record|
|West Brom 2 Liverpool 2: Careless Reds drop points to offer Baggies slim survival hope|
|Roma will be eyeing revenge against Liverpool, warns Ancelotti|
|Bayern hand Bundesliga debut to Lars Lukas Mai|
|Costa should be back for Arsenal second leg, reveals Simeone|
|Wenger could coach Paris Saint-Germain, says Emery|
|Wenger changed the face of English football - Dixon|
|Rodgers shrugs off Arsenal talk|
|Clash between top two ´more decisive´ for Napoli, Allegri claims|
|Chongqing sponsor ´positive´ over Iniesta deal|
|Valverde´s quiet crisis management leaves Barca ready to clean up|
|Vieira ´flattered´ by Arsenal link|
|Wenger was sacked by Arsenal, Wright claims|
|Dyche eager to feature in ´legendary´ Wenger´s Emirates farewell|
|United and City ´a million miles apart´, says Parker|
|Pogba must ´take more responsibility´, says Matic|
|Sporting Kansas City 6 Vancouver Whitecaps 0: Russell stars with hat-trick|
|I don´t fear the challenge – Klopp eager to close gap to City|
|Everybody wants to play under him – Ozil pays tribute to Wenger|
|Conte defends Chelsea record compared to Mourinho|
|LaLiga strugglers Espanyol show Flores the door|
|Messi is an alien but Sevilla can bring Barcelona back down to Earth, insists Montella|
|Reims´ latest vintage secure promotion to Ligue 1|
|Millwall 0 Fulham 3: Sessegnon on target as Jokanovic´s side go second|
|Ancelotti welcomes Arsenal links, praises Wenger decision|
|I think Arsenal would be good for a German coach - Podolski|
|Wilshere, Ramsey, Mertesacker and the best social media reaction to Wenger´s Arsenal departure|
|Exeter left ´disappointed´ by Ampadu transfer verdict|
|Copa del Rey glory a good way to put European exit behind us, says Valverde|
|LMA hails Wenger´s impact at Arsenal|
|Wenger passes the torch as Arsenal face up to his formidable legacy|
|Gazidis: Arsenal cannot replace Wenger – we need a new path|
|Van Bronckhorst using Wenger´s methods at Feyenoord|
|I´d break another finger to win the Copa del Rey - Rakitic|
|Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal manager´s worst moments|
|Wright: More Arsenal changes needed after Wenger exit|
|Guardiola wishes Iniesta the best ahead of potential Barcelona exit|
|Real football people appreciate Wenger - Moyes, Warnock and more pay tribute|
|Guardiola set for contract talks with Manchester City|
|Liverpool top, DVDs just invented and no Harry Potter – The world when Wenger joined Arsenal|
|Heynckes cannot compare Lewandowski and Ronaldo|
|Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe and more – the stars Wenger claims he could have signed|
|Ferguson: Rival, colleague and friend Wenger is one of the greatest|
|Gattuso wary of challenge for Milan´s European place|
|Wembley no advantage for Spurs in semi-final, warns Mourinho|
|Neuer returns to Bayern training after seventh-month absence|
|PSG, Monaco, the CSL, France? - Wenger´s possible next moves|
|Wenger ´an example´ to foreign Premier League managers like Benitez|
|Wilshere: Wenger is like a father|
|Guardiola wants Wenger to find new role in football|
|Henry: Wenger´s Arsenal legacy is untouchable|
|Mourinho: Wenger feud shows how much I respect him|
|Conte: Top four still possible for Chelsea|
|Aguero out for the season - Guardiola|
|Wenger´s 22-year Arsenal tenure will not be matched, says Conte|
|Celtic would let Rodgers move to Arsenal|
|Squillaci, Cech & Wenger´s worst signings at Arsenal|
|Heynckes: I cannot imagine Wenger at another club|
|Thank you Arsene - Emery pays tribute to Wenger|
|Fabregas and Van Persie join tributes to Arsenal boss Wenger|
|1,228 matches and seven FA Cups - Wenger at Arsenal in Opta numbers|
|Mertesacker ´emotional´ as Wenger announces Arsenal departure|
|Ancelotti, Tuchel, Henry – Where do Arsenal turn after Wenger?|
|Klopp doesn´t want Liverpool to chase Golden Boot for Salah|
|´The Arsene Wenger Stadium´ - Former Arsenal players call for tribute|
|Wenger was so good ´it was scary´, says Merson|
|I fell in love with playing for Wenger - Winterburn|
|Van der Sar urges Kluivert to continue Ajax development|
|Klopp pays tribute to ´outstanding´ Wenger|
|Wenger´s consistency will never be matched – Kroenke hails Arsenal manager´s legacy|
|Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal manager´s best moments|
|Vieira, Henry and Wenger´s best signings at Arsenal|
|Wenger to stand down as Arsenal manager|
|Ibrahimovic not in Sweden´s plans despite latest World Cup hint|
|Rafinha confident over fresh Bayern deal|
|Perth Glory sack Kenny Lowe|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Lopez misses two penalties as Racing crush Vasco|
|Gunes hospitalised after suffering head injury in abandoned Fenerbahce-Besiktas clash|
|Thiago Silva eyeing PSG exit amid criticism|
|Premier League or Champions League title will take Spurs to ´different level´ – Pochettino|
|Klopp: Bayern Munich move would´ve been complicated|
|Wenger names Vieira as potential Arsenal successor|
|Simeone demands more alert Atletico to solve away day problems|
|Malaga relegated from LaLiga after late defeat|
|Conte reaches 100 Chelsea games with win at Burnley|