Panama is one of those nations participating in the FIFA World Cup that the big crowds know nothing about. So, what has Panama got to offer? Can they surprise us?
Few people expected Panama to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, but they managed as the United States lost 2-1 in their last match against Trinidad and Tobago. And that must have been a sweet revenge for Panama, as they also qualified in 2014, but after leading 2-1 against the USA after 90 minutes, USA managed to score twice in the extended time, and thus they qualified instead.
In the FIFA World Cup 2018 Panama will play against Belgium, England, and Tunisia in the G group. Everyone expect England and Belgium to win this group, while Tunisia and Panama will be the easy preys. But, can Panama come up with some magic in the tournament?
The biggest profiles on the team
If you take a look at the Panama squad, you should not be surprised if you discover that you haven’t heard about one single player. They have no players from the Premier League, no players from the Bundesliga, and no players in Seria A or in La Liga. But, they do have quite a lot of players with a lot of experience, and way more than 100 matches playing for Panama. The biggest profiles are:
- Felipe Baloy (Captain), playing for Municipal in Guatemala
- Gabriel Gómez, playing for Atlético Bucaramanga in Colombia
- Blas Pérez, playing for Municipal in Guatemala (scored 43 goals in 117 matches)
- Luis Tejada, playing for Sport Boys in Peru (scored 43 goals in 105 matches)
Can Panama beat Belgium or England?
I would be greatly surprised if they did. They played a friendly match against Northern Ireland on May 30th, and the end-result was 0-0. Before the match against Northern Ireland, they only have one victory in their last five matches. That victory came against Trinidad and Tobago (1-0) on April 18th. Before that they lost 6-0 against Switzerland, 1-0 against Denmark, 2-1 against Iran and played 1-1 against Wales.
Tonight Panama will play against Norway, and that match might give us some useful information. Norway won against Iceland a few days ago and seems to be a nation doing better under the leadership of Mr. Lagerbäck (former coach of Iceland). If Panama will enter the World Cup knowing that they only have one victory in their last seven matches, then it will be a heavy burden to carry. But, if they manage to play great football against Norway and win the match, it will serve as a boost for the team.
And, we all know… World Cup is World Cup, and if Costa Rica could surprise us all in the World Cup in 2014, then Panama might surprise us in 2018. But, looking at their latest results and biggest profiles, we do not have much faith in Panama before the tournament starts.
Panama will play their first World Cup match against Belgium on June 18th! Read more about the Belgium – Panama match here.