Mexico exploited the 38th-minute expulsion of Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano for three goals and rallied for a 3-1 victory on Saturday that gave El Tri third place at the Copa America.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco converted the penalty to equalize after Lugano was issued a red card for elbowing Gerardo Torrado, and Omar Bravo and Andres Guardado added second-half goals to assure Mexico of finishing third or better in four of the last five South American championships.
Sebastian Abreu gave Uruguay the lead in the 22nd minute, heading in Maximiliano Pereira's cross.
But after Blanco equalized, Bravo lifted a shot over the hands of goalkeeper Fabian Carini, who was racing off his line, in the 68th minute, and Guardado sealed the victory with a left-footed shot from 25 meters in the 76th.
Argentina and defending champion Brazil square off in the tournament final on Sunday in Maracaibo.
Mexico finished third in 1997 and 1999 and lost to Colombia in the 2001 final.
El Tri has reached the semifinals five of the seven times it has been invited to the South American championships as a guest. Coming off its penalty-kick loss to Brazil in the semifinals, Uruguay struggled after Lugano's expulsion to maintain possession and feed attacker Diego Forlan.
Uruguay came to Venezuela with a strong, Europe-based team, eager to claim a record 15th title.
Mexico lost 3-0 to Argentina on Wednesday to set up the third-place match against the Uruguayans.