Who is Santiago Giménez? Meet the Mexican hero who helped El Tri win the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2023 crown with his last strike

The Gold Cup final 2023 was scheduled to take place on Sunday, 17 July 2023 between heavyweights Panama and Mexico. The setting was emphatic, with a sold-out crowd at the SoFI stadium in California. Mexico was in pursuit of their 9th Gold Cup title, whereas Panama was still in search of their first title. Santiago Gimenez was the hero as Mexico triumphed against Panama.

Mexico had advanced into the finals after comfortably putting away Jamaica 3-0 in the semi-finals with goals from Henry Martin, Luis Chavez and Roberto Alvardo. Panama, on the other hand, edged past the USMNT after the tie went to penalties. Both teams were prepared for the grand finale with the aspiration to take the trophy to their respective nations. Here’s a look at how the final turned out. 

Santiago Giménez leads Mexico to win CONCACAF Gold Cup 2023

Santiago Gimenez may not be a known personality until yesterday, but the player has had a formidable career up till now. The forward was part of the Feyenoord squad that won the Eredivisie under the coaching of Ruud van Nistelrooy. Feyenoord’s number 29 was in impeccable form throughout the season scoring 15 goals in 32 appearances for the club. 

Surprisingly, Gimenez is born in Argentina but moved to Mexico at the ripe age of 3 years. His father was also a professional soccer player, most famous for his stint at Veracruz in Mexico. The player chose Mexico over Argentina while deciding his national representation and stated that he “felt more Mexican than Argentinian.”   

Santiago Gimenez was Mexico’s hero in the final, scoring a goal in the dying minutes of the game to send Mexican fans into utter jubilation. His goal was enough to be the difference between the two sides as El Tri won their 9th Gold Cup title. The forward came off the bench to score the solitary goal of the game in the 88th minute breaking Panama’s heart. 

Mexican players celebrated with utter delight and some even got emotional after the final whistle of the game. El Tri’s captain and goalkeeper Ochoa lifted the trophy as there was an evident green wave throughout California, with people celebrating Mexico’s win. Santiago Gimenez was also at the centre stage of Mexico’s celebration. 

Mexico lift the Gold Cup trophy
Mexico players celebrate with the winner’s trophy after beating Panama 1-0 after the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match Sunday, July 16, 2023, in Inglewood, California.

Mexico supporters trash Henry Martín, and praise Santiago Giménez

Mexican supporters were unable to contain their joy as their team won their first major trophy in 4 years. But, in their post-match reaction, the Mexican fans were rather sour in their recognition of Henry Martin. The 30-year-old Mexican striker was underwhelming in the tournament, only scoring 2 goals in 6 games. Here are some reactions to his performance:

One of the fans went as far as declaring Santi Giminez Mexico’s GOAT. Another matter of ecstasy for the fans was Ochoa lifting the trophy in what could be his last game as Mexico’s “portero.” 

The Mexican fans pointed out Martin’s underperforming and it’s safe to say they had no second thoughts in discarding the striker. El Tri found its new hero in Gimenez, who looks forward to a bright future with rumours of interest from Italian giants AC Milan. It will be interesting to see how the forward’s career takes off from here, with time under his belt.   


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