The 'loser' of this drawing of lots will advance in any case as one of the best third-placed teams, and the fact that a draw was enough for both was evident in the sides' safety-first approach. It was certainly not a match that will live long in the memory, with chances in extremely short supply and neither team willing to commit numbers to attack.
Mali responded and might have drawn level on a couple of occasions, first when Aboubacar Doumbia was off target with a powerful cross-cum-shot and then when Falaye Sacko's curling effort was held by the impressive Gaston Guruceaga. However, as half-time neared, Guruceaga was involved in the incident that led to parity being restored when he was penalised for handling a back-pass.
Uruguay protested the award but Mali made sure to take full advantage, with Adama Traore taking possession of the indirect free-kick and curling a powerful left-foot shot into the bottom corner from 16 yards.
That set up the result that both teams needed and, in truth, the second half - a complete non-event in terms of goalscoring chances - showed that. Uruguay and Mali can now both look forward to the last 16, with an update on the final group rankings to be provided soon on FIFA.com.
* The drawing of lots, conducted in Auckland and witnessed by both teams via a live video link, has left Uruguay in second and Mali in third. Both teams advance to the last 16.