By CALEB SONNELAND
Mexico has emerged from group play as the team to beat at Gold Cup 2011.
After thumping El Salvador and Cuba by a score of 5-0, the Mexicans closed out Group A in style with a 4-1 win over a Costa Rican side that was seen by many as the second strongest side in the group.
New York Red Bulls defender Rafael Marquez found the net in the recent win over Costa Rica, as did Andres Guardado and West Ham's Pablo Barrera. The win locked down first place in the group and set up a clash with either Canada, the United States or Guatemala on June 18th in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Los Tricolores has looked lethal in front of goal, smashing in 14 goals in just three games.
Cuba has emerged as the whipping boys of the group, losing all three of its matches with a goal difference of -15, and, despite losing to Mexico by such a hefty margin, Costa Rica pips El Salvador to second place on goal difference alone. A 95th minute goal from Randall Brenes saw their head-to-head clash finish 1-1 on their June 9th matchup in North Carolina.
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez has not disappointed following a very successful transition to life at Manchester United and has notched five goals in three games so far in the tournament. Substitute striker Aldo di Nigiris has come off the bench in all three games to get on the score sheet in two of them.
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