Squad Analysis Panama ahead of FIFA World Cup in Russia
In a country better known for it’s baseball players and boxing champions, football will slowly but surely muscle into their territory when Panama will make their first trip to the FIFA World Cup.
The central Americans aren’t complete unknowns in the world of football. Twice runners up of the CONCAFAF Gold Cup, they qualified for the tournament in Russia by finishing ahead of the United States of America, which is quite an achievement. This achievement becones even more significant due to the huge disparity between the countries : Panama only has only 4 million people while the US has about 320 million!
● Squad Analysis :
World cup specialist Herman Diaro has replicated the trick he pulled with Colombia in 1998 and Ecuador in 2002 by taking this unfacied Panama side to the world cup. An expert of pulling out big things from minnows, Panama will be expected to get proved as a tough nut to crack in the 21st edition of the World’s elitest football competition.
○ Captain :
Veteran defender Felipe Baloy.
○Star Player :
Striker Luis Tejada who plays his club football for Sports Boys in Peruvian first division and will be the go to man for the central American team.
○ Rising star :
The right back Michael Murillo. A defender from the New York Red Bulls, this 21year old has already racked up 19 caps and two goals for his country.
○ Most Caps :
Gabriel Gomez (140).
○Probable Formation :
5-4-1 and/or 4-4-1-1.
○Probable XI :
Jamie Panedo, Ricardo avilla, Luis Ovalle, Fidel Escobar, Felipe Baloy, Michael Murillo, Mauel Vargas, Leslie Heraldez, Armando Cooper, Blas Perez.
● Team Rating :
○Goalkeeper Rating : 5
○Defence Rating : 5
○Midfield Rating : 4
○Attack Rating : 4
○Overall Rating : 4.5
(All out of 10)
● Past Record in World Cup :
Haven’t Qualified before and they will be expected to give a strong shot in their inaugural World Cup campaign.
●Recent Form :
Panama have only won 1 out of their last five international friendlies when they defeated Trinidad and Tobago 0-1 away from home. Other results being,
Switzerland 6-0 Panama,
Denmark 1-0 Panama
Wales 1-1 Panama
Iran 2-1 Panama.
So if Panama has to produce anything positive against the big opponents, they will have to be at their very best.
● Coach/Manager’s Quote :
Panama coach Herman Diaro Gomez hopes his side is a ‘Dignified rival’.
“I hope people enjoy it instead of criticizing or destroying the dream we’ve achieved “.
Herman Diaro Gomez’s role will be pivotal in Russia and what player would he prefer that also remains to be seen as much would depend upon that.
● Writers Take :
Panama has made a big statement by qualifying to the major tournament ie. FIFA World Cup ahead of the likes of USA. But realistic chances of them making it through the group stages is blink. Grouped alongside England, Tunisia and Belgium, Panama would try to get all the points in the game against Tunisia while they are expected to sit back and defend against heavier opponents England and Belgium. Minnows as of now, the central American side would take lot of positives from the major tournament, both on and off the field and capitalising on this experience would surely look for more frequent participation in the grandest stage of the game in future.