Rico on Futbol | Giovani Dos Santos needs to be in El Tri’s World Cup Roster


Photo Credit: Itzel Segura / Prost Amerika

By: Jonny Rico
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It is an unpopular opinion among Mexican football fans, but I believe that Giovani Dos Santos needs to be one of the 23 players going to Russia to compete in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The fans are still unhappy and even hurt by the decision that Giovani took to leave European football and join the LA Galaxy in MLS. They consider this a step backwards and a risk of Gio losing his magic touch and/or talent.

But despite the lower level of competition that Giovani now faces — yes, sorry to break it to you MLS, but you are definitely a lower quality football than the European brand that Giovani was in before joining — he still has the talent, that magic touch that very few players have.

Giovani is a play maker, a difference maker, he is the type of player a manager can build a team around. He does have moments in games and even in his career where he seems apathetic and lacking ambition — and the move to MLS does not help fight that perception.

Unfortunately for the 2005 U-17 World Champion, his reputation is not the only battle he has to survive in order to get a spot on Juan Carlos Osorio’s 23-man World Cup roster. The Colombian manager does seem to favor Giovani and seems unfazed by the loud criticism in Dos Santos’ inclusion. But it is Osorio himself one of Gio’s biggest obstacles.

“I think we all know his ability, his technique, and in a very tight space, he can be a very influential player.” — Juan Carlos Osorio in the post game press conference after the 0-0 draw with Wales.

Juan Carlos Osorio was hired by the Mexican federation and has stated that his objective upon being hired was the World Cup qualification, which he easily achieved. With this excuse in hand, Osorio has justified Mexico’s horrendous performances in international competitions such as the Copa America Centenario, CONCACAF Gold Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup.

Osorio came to Mexico never having managed a National Team before and looked / continues to look to implement his own brand of football on the Mexican National Team instead of trying to figure out what are the Mexican players’ strongest suits and playing towards that.

Osorio and his never ending rotation of squads and lineups have not allowed Mexican players to fully shine and has produced embarrassing moments like the 7-0 defeat to Chile, the 4-1 loss to Germany and the Gold Cup elimination to Jamaica.

Giovani Dos Santos is one of the players most affected by the tactics of the Colombian manager.

Osorio has forced Mexico to play long passes across the field using attacking wingers and one center striker. This tactic bypasses Giovani Dos Santos’ main skill set. Gio is the type of player that can dribble at defenders and benefits from open space. He always looks to play a killer through ball (mainly on the ground) to a striker.

When Gio is forced to play in Osorio’s midfield, the long passes are sailing over Giovani and he can not have as big of an impact. When he is forced to play as one of the attacking wingers, the touch line reduces his dribbling space causing him to be limited in what he can produce.

There really isn’t a place for Giovani within the stubborn plan of Juan Carlos Osorio. But midway through matches, when Osorio’s main plan which is not flattering to the skills of Mexican players, starts to fail, Giovani Dos Santos will be the ideal candidate off the bench for a change of tactics.

This is why it is crucial for dos Santos to be included Mexico’s


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