Panama National team gears up for the World Cup
For the first time in the country’s history, Panama qualified for the World Cup Finals and is part of the 32 nations that will compete for the biggest prize in football, the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
To show its significance, the Panama government declared a national holiday the next day Panama qualified for the World Cup to allow thousands of Panama citizens to celebrate the nation’s victory. The first three matches the country will play at the World Cup if they do not manage to progress to the latter stages are Belgium, England, and Tunisia. The odds are against Panama to progress but if you fancy an upset, you can place your bet for Panama at any UK Online Casino.
Road to Russia
The road to Russia was not all rosy but one of grit and determination. Going into the last match of the qualifying campaign against Costa Rica, Panama had not even occupied any of the three CONCACAF direct qualifying berths. However, they mathematically had a chance to progress and the team believed it could do it. To progress, Panama had to beat Costa Rica and hope that Trinidad and Tobago win against the U.S in the other game that was played simultaneously with theirs. The Panama prayers were answered when Ramon Torres scored the priceless goal with a few minutes to go to clinch a place in the World Cup Finals.
Qualifying for the World Cup was a huge achievement for Panama but they know a bigger challenge lies ahead when they take to the field for the first time in a World Cup Finals match against Belgium on 18 June 2018. To prepare for their big journey, Panama has four international friendlies lined up that have been confirmed by the two countries involved and FIFA while one against Egypt still awaits FIFA approval. The four confirmed friendlies are against Denmark away on 22 March, against Switzerland away on 27 March, Northern Ireland at home on 29 May and against Norway away on 6 June, 11 days before their debut World Cup match. The unconfirmed friendly against Egypt if confirmed will be played at a date to be announced in May.
Panama is not a team that strives on the brilliance of individual players but it is more of a collective effort of all players. Nonetheless, there are a few players to look out for in this Panama team. Jaime Panado is 35 years now but his experience will be needed when things go tough in Russia. He has over 100 caps for Panama. Felipe Baloy is the man Panama will look to, to provide defensive solidity. He is a tall physical defender who is good in the air both in his own box and in the attacking box.
World Cup matches
Panama will play Belgium on 18 June, before playing England in their second match on 24 June. The third group stage match will be against Tunisia on 28 June.