Gold Cup Final 2011, USA Vs. Mexico: Giovani Dos Santos Has A Breakout Performance

Between his unbelievable performances at the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championships and his appearances for Spanish giants FC Barcelona as a 17 year old, Giovani dos Santos was billed as a world class star of the future when he was a teenager. He was regarded as the best Mexican player since Hugo Sanchez, and along with Carlos Vela and the rest of that Under-17 team, he was going to guide Mexico to glory that they hadn't yet achieved.

Since then, dos Santos has struggled to get playing time at Tottenham Hotspur and has failed to become first choice for Mexico, at least until right before the Gold Cup started. When Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre was appointed manager of Mexico, he inserted veteran playmaker Sinha into the starting XI, starting with Gio on the bench.

Then, an odd sequence of events lead to dos Santos being inserted into the starting lineup. A couple of weeks before the tournament, Sinha's father died, forcing him to travel home to Brazil and forcing Gio into the starting lineup. On June 1, eight days before the Gold Cup started, dos Santos scored a brace in a friendly against New Zealand, all but solidifying his starting place, at least for the opening match of the Gold Cup.

Just hours before the first game of the tournament, Sinha and 'Hobbit' Christian Bermudez, the other central attacking midfielder in the team, were sent home for doping, leaving dos Santos as the only player in his position on the Mexico roster. Hours after his teammates were sent home, Gio scored another brace.

He was absolutely brilliant throughout the tournament, but Saturday night is when dos Santos shined the brightest, scoring the goal of the tournament and showing off his pace and creativity over and over again. He got off to a decent start, even as the United States were in control of the match, then ripped them apart in the final 60 minutes of the game.

Whether or not Harry Redknapp is interested in giving Giovani dos Santos another chance to win a spot at Tottenham Hotspur is not something that we can be sure of yet, but after this performance, there's a good chance that you'll get to see him playing regular club football somewhere next season. And if you want to see more of him now, you're in luck. Tottenham has allowed Mexico to take him to Copa America, where he will play with a different, younger Mexico squad on which he will be one of the senior members.

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