2011 turned out to be a pretty decent year for Mexican futbol. Mexico's national teams medaled in three of the five tournaments in which they participated, winning two of them. One of the lasting images was Julio Gomez' bicycle kick to complete a stunning comeback over the Germans in the U17 World Cup semi-finals. Gomez had knocked heads with a German player on Mexico's equalizing "gol olimpico" and was bleeding profusely as a result. Once bandaged, "la momia" went back onto the pitch, mainly to run interference until extra time. He did a little more than that. Mexico would go on to win the tournament, the first hosts ever to do so, with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the final. It was the second U17 World Cup Victory for Mexico in the past six years.
While this U17 championship-winning team was exemplified by an unyielding team spirit, the group that won in '05 was a star-studded side that steamrolled their way to the title. Several members from that 05 team have since graduated to the Senior side, but none had a bigger impact in 2011 than Giovani Dos Santos.
The youngster may have a hard time getting on the pitch in North London, but he was an absolute difference maker for the Tri this year. He saved his best performance for the biggest game of the year, the Gold Cup final vs. the USA. Dos Santos' 2nd half goal sealed the win for a mexico side that scored four unanswered goals after giving up two early goals at the Rose Bowl.
As great as Gio was at the Gold Cup, the player everyone wanted to see was Javier Hernandez. The 2011 Gold Cup was the best-attended Gold Cup, and CONCACAF can thank Chicharito for the turnouts. I was witness to his reception at Cowboys Stadium. Never heard a stadium louder, and that was before his hat-trick vs El Salvador.
2012 brings World Cup Qualifying. Away games at Costa Rica and El Salvador will be tough. Nevertheless, Mexico should end 2012 getting ready for the Hex.