Panama is in the World Cup for the first time ever so there’s a lot of excitement both in the country and from outside the country.
There’s so much excitement actually that Panama President Juan Carlos Valera declared October 10 as a public holiday as Panama qualified for their first ever World Cup due to a timely goal by Roman Torres.
There a few household names that round out the Panama World Cup roster but there are also several that aren’t as well known. Their first ever World Cup will give the team as a whole some much needed exposure and hopefully win over a few fans as they look to start a Cinderella run.
Roman Torres, for example, led the Sounders to the MLS Cup and scored the goal that led Panama into the World Cup to begin with. Gabriel Torres scored the other, controversial, goal in the match against Costa Rica that confirmed Panama’s place in the tournament.
“Pure happiness. The Panamanians are so blessed with what happened,” Torres said of the goal, according to MLSSoccer.com. “It’s something we’ve been working towards for a very long time. I can’t say it enough, the stadium was just pure happiness and euphoria over what happened. It was a historic moment for our country and for our national team.”
Thanks to some timely goals and a loss by the United States, Panama has qualified for the first time ever which is a cause for celebration.
Panama World Cup 2018 Roster
- Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls)
- Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes)
- Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls)
- Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders FC)
- Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo)
- Eric Davis (DAC Dunajska Streda)
- Luis Ovalle (CD Olimpia)
- Felipe Baloy (CSD Municipal)
- Gabriel Gomez (Atletico Bucaramanga)
- Edgar Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula)
- Armando Cooper (Club Universidad de Chile)
- Valentin Pimentel (Plaza Amador)
- Alberto Quintero (Universitario Lima)
- Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes)
- Jose Luis Rodriguez (KAA Gent).
- Blas Perez (CSD Municipal)
- Gabriel Torres (CD Huachipato)
- Ismael Diaz (Deportivo La Coruña)
- Abdiel Arroyo (LD Alajuelense)
- Luis Tejada (Sport Boys)
- Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest)
- Jose Calderon (Chorrillo FC)
- Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC)
A lot of the team is made up of MLS players which may or may not be a good thing for the hopes of the Panama team. While the MLS does feature some talented players, the competition is usually regarded as weaker when compared to most other leagues, especially the European ones.
Gabriel and Roman Torres should be able to do some damage in this year’s World Cup so don’t be surprised if you see a couple upsets.
Panama’s work is cut out for them as they go against Belgium, England and Tunisia in their three matches in Group G. There will likely be a lot of eyes on them during the England match-up since England is usually a big draw in World Cups due to the sheer talent.
Panama’s first match against Belgium begins June 18 at 11 a.m. ET.