Panama's World Cup 2022 Standings
Panama is the second team in Group G, which also includes Belgium, Tunisia, and England. Below you will find their current tournament standings, updated after every matchday.
Panama's Odds To Win The World Cup
Panama is obviously huge outsiders to win the World Cup given that this will be the first time they have qualified, so there is not too much point talking about the +99900 odds they bring to the competition. After being drawn in a tough Group G containing Belgium and England, there is little chance of them winning a match let alone progressing to the second round, although they will have the chance to record a historic win at the tournament when they take on Tunisia.
We are actually backing Panama to beat Tunisia in the match that will surely determine who finishes third and fourth in the group. It will take something special to avoid elimination at the first hurdle, although if you believe they can shock the world and knock out either Belgium or England, Sports Interaction is offering +750 for the Central Americans to progress to the Round of 16.
Our tip is to take the outsider odds that that will likely be on offer in their match against Tunisia and place a head to head bet on the match.
Panama's Squad & Key Players
All teams must declare a 30 man squad for the World Cup by the middle of May, while the final 23 man squads don't have to be finalized until the first week of June, just days prior to the tournament start date. We will update you when the team sheets are announced, but first, let's take a look at some of the most important players in the Panama national team and who we think will play a big part in the competition.
Roman Torres (Defender)
It was fitting that the veteran defender managed the goal that took Panama to their first World Cup. Always reliable at the back, Torres has made just over 100 appearances for the national team and has scored one goal every ten matches, which is a great return for a defender. Torres has also been instrumental to the success of club side Seattle Sounders in the MLS, helping the team to two consecutive MLS Cup final appearances.
Gabriel Gomez (Midfielder)
Panama's most capped player has been through four World Cup qualification campaigns and has finally been rewarded with a trip to Russia. Starting his career with the Columbian side Envigado way back in 2002, Gomez has appeared for sixteen different clubs in six different countries throughout his long career, notching up around 400 senior appearances.
Gomez will add to his 130 international caps when he starts in Russia, and it will be interesting to see whether he pushes on to the fifth attempt at a World Cup for Panama.
Blas Perez / Luis Tejada (Strikers)
Panama certainly has a wealth of experienced players in their ranks, and their strike force of Luis Tejada and Blas Perez have a whopping 219 caps and 86 goals between them (43 each). Both have played since 2001, and will surely hang up the boots after Russia, and with daylight second on the list of top goal scorers for Panama, there will be a healthy rivalry between the pair until their final match to see who finishes atop the standings.
The Coach - Hernan Dario Gomez
Unlike most managers at the World Cup, Gomez has spent more time at the helm of a national team than he has done for club sides. Although he started out as manager of Atletico Nacional, whom he also played for in the early 1980s, his second assignment was with the Colombian national team, leading the South Americans between 1995 and 1998 and securing their third consecutive World Cup appearance.
His success continued as he next moved to Ecuador and secured their first-ever start in a World Cup, before moving to lead Guatemala between 2006 and 2008. He returned to Colombia to coach both Santa Fe and Medellin, while making a short return as head coach of the national side, before moving into the top job in Panama from 2014.
After successfully leading Panama to Russia in 2018, Gomez joined French manager Henri Michel as the only manager to have led three separate nations to the World Cup.
Panama's World Cup 2022 Lineup
Russia's latest international was a friendly match played against Wales on November 14th, 2017. To get an idea of their likely squad in Russia, we have taken a look at their crucial final qualifier against Costa Rica, played on October 11th. The full lineup was as follows.
Starting Lineup (4-2-2-2)
Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucuresti) - Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo) , Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders), Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls), Luis Ovalle (Deportes Tolima) - Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Edgar Barcenas (Tapachula) - Gabriel Gomez (Atletico Bucaramanga), Alberto Quintero (Universitario) - Blas Perez (Municipal), Gabriel Torres (Lausanne-Sport).
Reserves: R Azofeifa, C Bolanos, M Urena, G Gonzalez, L Moreira, Y Tejeda, K Briceno, A Rodriguez, J Ordain, D Colindres, J Acosta.
Panama's World Cup History
Panama will be making its first-ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup when they travel to Russia, a goal they have been working towards since they first attempted to qualify for the 1978 tournament. The team, who had been building for several years prior to their breakthrough, will head into the competition as one of the smallest nations to participate, but they will certainly be looking to do more than make up the numbers.
As part of the CONCACAF confederation, Panama has always had to deal with Mexico, the USA and recently Costa Rica qualifying at their expense. Even Honduras, who has appeared in just three tournaments overall, have had the upper hand when it comes to qualifying. With just three and a half spots for the entire region, it has always been difficult for Panama to make it to the world's biggest sporting event.
Panama was incredibly close to qualifying for the 2014 event, which came down to the final round of fixtures. In their final match against the USA, they led 2-1 after 90 minutes and were on track to finish fourth in the hexagonal, meaning they would face New Zealand in a play-off for a spot in Brazil. Instead, Los Canaleros conceded two stoppage-time goals and were eliminated; Mexico jumped into fourth place at their expense.
After the heartbreak of their last-ditch defeat, it took a considerable amount of strength for the national team to push on and qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and they did it in perhaps the most dramatic fashion in World Cup qualifying history. Needing a win in their final match against Costa Rica to have any hope of staying in the race, Roman Torres scored an 88th-minute winner to send the Panamanian crowd into raptures.
After sealing victory, attention turned to the concurrent fixtures between Honduras and Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago against the United States. A win or draw by the USA would see them jump ahead of Panama and Honduras, who had to win to stay alive. A 3-2 win by Honduras and a 2-1 win to Trinidad and Tobago saw the perfect scenario unfold for Panama - they had qualified automatically at the expense of the United States. It was the perfect revenge for the events that occurred four years prior.
Panama was far from perfect in their qualification campaign, scraping through with as many wins as losses in the final group. Although all that matters is that they have made it, and while they will have their work cut out in a group that contains a strong Belgian side, England and Tunisia, they only have to look to Costa Rica for inspiration - their close neighbours managed to top a group containing Italy, England and Uruguay in 2014.