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Tottenham Hotspur's Giovanni Dos Santos set for key role as Mexico meet Japan in Olympic semi-finals
Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovanni Dos Santos has set the stage alight in the London 2012 men’s football tournament.
The tantalising winger has been influential for Mexico, scoring three and assisting in others to guide them to a semi-final clash with surprise package Japan at Wembley this afternoon (kick-off 5pm).
After a goalless draw with Korea in their first game, Dos Santos twisted, turned and skilfully inspired the Mexicans to victory in their second fixture as he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Gabon.
In their final group game against Switzerland, Mexico found themselves largely on the back foot, but Dos Santos again provided that integral magic spark as he combined with Oribe Peralta to catapult them into the quarter-finals.
Mexico entertained against Senegal and quickly took a two-goal lead, with Dos Santos providing the delivery for the first goal. However the Senegalese fought back strongly and forced extra-time.
Up stepped Dos Santos, who hounded the Senegalese rearguard into making an error, which he duly capitalised on to stroke Mexico into the semi-finals, albeit for a late fourth.
Japan, who are yet to concede in this tournament, now stand between Mexico and a place in the final.
They breezed through what looked like a tough group with impressive 1-0 victories over world champions Spain and Morocco, before a goalless draw with Honduras.
The Japanese then found their scoring form as they struck three past Egypt to become the first team to reach the semi-finals.
Yugi Otsu and Kensuke Nagai are current top-scorers for the Japanese with two goals apiece.
Coupled with their impenetrable back-line, this will be a tough semi-final for Mexico.
However, with Dos Santos on form and in favour of a starting place, we could see that clean sheet record end.
This will be an interesting affair, to say the least. Expect goals.