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The World Cup 2018 and Panama

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Russia 2018: Panama pays their innocence with a defeat 3-0 against Belgium

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:29

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The Panama squad paid its rookie mistakes in World Cup matches with a 3-0 loss to Belgium in its debut at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, although it managed to hold up pretty well in the first half of the match.

The Canaleros managed to keep their lines well, especially the defensive lines, in the initial 45 minutes, which earned them a break with a valuable goalless draw.

However, in the second half, and just two minutes into the beginning, Dries Mertens would put the first goal on the scoreboard for the Belgians, with what came the desperation in the Panamanian teac, which began to resort to pushing, kicking and grabs as a formula to try to avoid the European fight.

In the 69th minute, Belgium took advantage of an oversight on defense and a center to the small area found only Romelu Lukaku, who would be responsible for putting the 2-0 on the board. The third was also the work of Lukaku, in a counterattack in which he received the last pass to meet the goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who beat with a touch from above.

It was a not auspicious debut for Panama, which was naked in the second half of the match and gave Belgium the spaces it needed to take the victory that puts them first in Group G.



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Panama lives in the early hours of the morning the World Cup debut

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:39

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The city of Panama dawned cloudy, with light rains, an unusually cool temperature of 24 degrees, but that was not an impediment for the Panamanians to come out dressed in red in support of their soccer team, which debuts today against Belgium at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Panamanians who did not travel to Russian lands are eager to hear their national anthem for the first time in a World Cup and see their flag flying in this sporting event, which brings together the 32 best football teams in the world.

The debut of the Central American Red, that this Monday will go white against the Belgians, will make the working life in Panama start after the game, the schools will stop their work to support in the distance the soccer team that has become a passion in the Central American country.

In the Panamanian capital drums, trumpets and fireworks have been heard, since early hours, shows that Panamanians will live a party in their World Cup debut at the Olympic Stadium Fisht in Sochi.

In different parks of the capital and other cities of Panama giant screens have been placed so that the public can see the match against the Belgians.





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Panama stopped today with their team’s debut in the 2018 World Cup

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 19:54

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The Panamanian city came to a full stop today for more than 90 minutes to appreciate its senior soccer team’s debut at the 2018 World Cup, against Belgium, in Sochi, Russia.

The Panamanian fans - who did not make the trip to Russian lands, all dressed in red - gathered in different parks of the Central American country, where they could see the game from start to finish on giant screens.

The emotional moment in the Urracá Park, located in the Panamanian Coastal Strip, occurred when the Panamanian anthem sounded. From the smallest to the largest, they sang at the top of their lungs, before the images of the Panamanian players on the screen.

At the start of the game, Panamanian flags were raised, which adorned each of the venues where giant screens were placed to appreciate the game.

Each touch of the Panamanian squad was applauded and cheered by the fans, who despite the heat and high humidity that existed in the Panamanian capital never stopped encouraging.

In the central part of the capital, at Plaza Cinco de Mayo, there was another party. In this area a family atmosphere was observed, where children dressed in the colors of the Panamanian team.

In this place, Panamanians applauded at the end of the first half, when their warriors made them dream by finishing 0-0 on the scoreboard.

At the start of the second half everything was happy face until the first goal was scored, a situation that changed the faces of many, who saw their team fall into the game.

That image was repeated in the other two goals, but between goal and goal, many had the hope that the Panamanians would score their first goal in the World Cup, which did not happen in this game.

The clear arrival of Michael Amir Murillo,  and the entrance of Ismael Díaz lifted the fans, despite losing.

Another scenario, where this first match was lived, was the building of the Mayor's Office of Panama, where several screens were installed to see this historic game.

With the 3-0 on the scoreboard, fans began their return to their daily lives, others were frozen in front of the screen as if they could not believe what was happening, while others smiled and applauded, despite the defeat, highlighted the courage of their team.

The Panamanian team will return to the field next Sunday to play their second match in the World Cup, this time the rival of the Central American red will be the English team.



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Varela finishes his visit to Russia, after accompanying the team in its world cup debut

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 16:24

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Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, completed his tour to Russia, in which he made an official mission to establish a bilateral agenda with his counterpart Vladimir Putin and at the same time participate in the debut of the Panamanian football team at the 2018 World Cup, reported an official source today.

Varela, who will return to the Central American country on Tuesday, was at the opening of the World Cup and also accompanied the Panamanian team in its first game against Belgium at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, in Sochi, said a statement from the Presidency.

The president arrived to the Russian nation on June 11 and fulfilled an official agenda that included a bilateral meeting with Putin, as well as other meetings with authorities and companies in the education sector, air connectivity, tourism, trade and culture.

"I would like to express my satisfaction for the development of our relations, cooperation, and thank President Putin for the preparation of Panamanian specialists in Russia," the president said during his meeting with Putin in the Kremlin, which he described as "historic" for being the first of a Panamanian president.

In front of the Russian president, Varela - who advocated the opening of a direct air connection between Panama and Russia - said that it would allow to strengthen and develop their relations in the commercial and economic field.

"Although we are a small country by population, only four million inhabitants, our economy is growing steadily and we have become one of the important players in the Latin American region and our role is increasing," said Varela.

Politically, he said that Panama "is neutral, we consider that we are an ideal place to develop and continue the political dialogue and reach consensus on different issues."

Varela invited Putin to visit his country to "see the Panama Canal with his own eyes, see our country and meet its people."

"I am very happy about the possibility of talking about our bilateral relations. The volume of our trade is currently modest, but we still have work to do, things to take care of. I know he is accompanied by a business delegation," said Putin.

The Panamanian president traveled accompanied by his wife and first lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo de Varela; the Minister of Social Development, Alcibíades Vásquez; the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Miguel Hincapié; and the Objectives Secretary, Jorge González.



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Panama will celebrate its Olympic Day along with their second match in the World Cup

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:42

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The Mirador del Pacífico of the Cinta Costera II in Panama City will host the Olympic Day celebrations on Saturday and Sunday, the Olympic Committee of Panama (COP) reported today. .

The activities on Saturday will start from 09.00 local time (4.00 GMT) and will extend until 18.00 local time (23.00 GMT); while Sunday will end with the race-walk 5 kilometers.

Those who attend the event will have the opportunity to enjoy. on a giant screen. of the match of the World Cup of Russia between the selection of Panama before its similar one of England.

The Day of Olympic Day aims to spread the ideals of Olympism and is open to the public for participation in activities and exhibitions of Sports Organizations that are part of the COP, the statement is abundant.

The celebration of Olympic Day marks the anniversary of the founding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which dates from June 23, 1894.



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Eleven Panamanian children will accompany their team in game against England

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:19

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Eleven Panamanian children traveled today to Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, to experience the great experience of entering the field at the hands of the players of Panama in next Sunday's game against the England team, reported a sports source.

The children are Dylan Salcedo, Yahir Reyna, Irvin Flores, Jafny Henríquez, Mia Fonseca, Isaías Moreno, Diego Fonseca, José A. Batista, Jhojan García, Sebastián Díaz and José Castillo, benefited by McDonald's "Player Escort" Program .

Of the eleven children who traveled to Russia, one of them was chosen from the Panamanian World Championship del Barrio, while the other ten were selected through a raffle made by the sponsor brand.

Panama will be measured next Sunday to the English squad, in its second match in Group G of the Russian World Cup 2018, at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium.



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Kane leads England to knockout round with 6-1 win, eliminates Panama

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 11:44


England forward Harry Kane scored a hat trick on Sunday to help his national team crush Panama 6-1 and secure a place the knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, eliminating Panama from its first-ever World Cup.

England's lopsided victory highlights their potential for a strong run in the tournament, bouncing back from an out-of-sorts game against Tunisia that only ended in a 2-1 win thanks to Kane's last-minute efforts.

Kane is now the top scorer of the 2018 World Cup with five goals, one more than both Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Romelu Lukaku of Belgium.

Panama did little in the first half, managing only two attempts to score, while England started the show with an early goal from John Stones' accurate header just eight minutes into the match.

England was awarded a penalty 14 minutes later, which Kane successfully converted.

Jesse Lingard added the third goal in the 36th minute with a fantastic shot from outside the area, with the fourth goal from Stones just four minutes later.

In the last minute of the first half, Kane successfully converted another penalty to go to the break with a 5-0 lead.

Panama's objective was to die with dignity, without further shocks, and returned to the pitch looking to stop England from continuing to run up the score at all costs.

Although Panama managed to settle in the field and sometimes controlled the ball when England took a step back, the show continued with the sixth goal from Kane in the 62nd minute.

With about half an hour to go, Panama worked to score at least one face-saving goal, as Felipe Baloy inscribed his name in history after scoring his country's first World Cup goal just 12 minutes before the end of the match.

  Felipe Baloy celebra la anotación / EFE

After suffering a 3-0 defeat against Belgium on Monday, Panama has no chance of reaching the last 16 round, as it remains at the bottom of Group G with no points.

England leads the group with six points, ahead of second-placed Belgium on goal difference, and both teams will be fighting to win the group in their upcoming match on June 28.



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Great article from the New York Times on Panama at the World Cup:

From My Seat, Panama Won the World Cup



From My Seat, Panama Won the World Cup

In defense of the little guys. They indeed belong.

Panama players celebrated after an own goal by Tunisia during their World Cup match on Thursday in Saransk, Russia.CreditDarko Bandic/Associated Press

It’s safe to say the attention of the soccer world was not focused on the seesawing battle at Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia, on Thursday as Panama fell to Tunisia, 2-1, in the teams’ last game at the World Cup.

Neither team advanced in the tournament — Tunisia managed its first World Cup win in 40 years; Panama goes home with an 0-3 record, the lowest-ranked team — but they most assuredly did in the sport.

They might not have shone the brightest on the field, but they certainly stirred some far-flung corners of the globe.

So why should I be surprised that after the game, the pounding salsa music came on, the rum poured forth and the happy banter and singing of scores of Panamanians, offering one another long hugs, filled a bar in Brooklyn that nobody seemed in a rush to leave? (They were still singing an hour after the game.)

I rise in defense of Panama, and the other not-so-mighty teams officially exiting the tournament.

This newspaper requires conflicts of interest be disclosed, so here is mine: I am the son of Panamanian immigrants. I possess a baseball cap with a big P in the national flag motif. I might have worn it at some point on Thursday, surrounded by Panamanians at this bar, Michelle’s Cocktail Lounge, essentially a social club for the small but vibrant Panamanian immigrant community in central Brooklyn.

But my biases go but so far. The New York Times sports desk, where I am a ranking editor, offered live coverage of all the games on Thursday except one: the one I was watching, which was deemed too inconsequential.

Panama defender Román Torres headed the ball.CreditFilippo Monteforte/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Panama midfielder José Luis Rodríguez controlled the ball.CreditFilippo Monteforte/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

This is kind of how it went for Panama: not feared, maybe not totally respected, but a curiosity in its first appearance in the 88 years of the World Cup.

Still, all around me, almost everybody wore the red jerseys of the Marea Roja, or Red Tide, and loudly sang the national anthem at the start of the game, a particular point of pride for any small country at an international event. They treated this game as if it were the World Cup final, yelling, “Tira!” — Shoot! — at even the faintest prospect of scoring, and groaning loud enough to be heard in Panama City when the ball sailed wide of the net, which was often.

Felipe Baloy scored for Panama, in a 6-1 loss to England on Sunday. CreditAlex Morton/Getty Images

Panama scored only one certifiable goal in the tournament (its one goal in Thursday’s game was credited as a Tunisia own goal), which would have brought shame to the Brazils of the world but was celebrated as a remarkable achievement. It didn’t matter that it came in a 6-1 blowout against England in the second game, which, if I’m honest, was actually a lot worse than the score reflected.

It was shot by Felipe Baloy. He is 37 and has had a long career of club soccer in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Panama is one of the oldest teams at the World Cup, stocked with veterans like Baloy, who kept dreaming of simply getting to the tournament, because, you know, it’s just the most-watched sporting event in the world.

So understand the party that broke out here and in Panama with that one goal, that one assertion that, yes, this team belonged.

Panama, of course, went through the rigor of the qualifying process, just like everybody else, and emerged as one of the 32 teams fit to compete. It should go without saying that the United States failed to make it, but I have to say it, because surely American fans are thinking, We would have done better. Maybe that’s true, but you also have to do better in the run-up.

FIFA now plans to expand the tournament to 48 teams, raising the prospect of more minnows like Panama among the sharks.

So be it. If you are going to call it the World Cup, let as much of the world in so that teams like Panama prove themselves in the qualifying tests and might ultimately develop into strong teams, spoilers, eventually even champions.

Fans celebrated a Panama goal (actually an own goal by Tunisia) on Thursday at Michelle's Cocktail Lounge in Brooklyn.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times
Panamanian decorations at Michelle’s during the World Cup game.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times
Nelva Steele wore Panama earrings to the World Cup gathering at Michelle’s in Brooklyn.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Panama is better known for boxing and baseball, but both sports seem in decline there. There hasn’t been a big Panamanian boxing star in years, and the baseball output to the major leagues has waned, too.

Fútbol is tightening its grip, and there is nothing like a first-time trip to the World Cup to generate the excitement to make it tighter.

That was certainly the sentiment in the crowd around me on Thursday at Michelle’s.

“It’s exciting Panama has gotten this far,” said Sandra Pinder, 64, a retiree who does not closely follow soccer but sat riveted for the entire game. “Hopefully next time they will be even better and succeed with the experience they have now.”

As for me, I’ll keep watching the tournament, and not just because it’s my job. My paternal grandparents were born on the Colombian island of Providencia.

So, go Cafeteros!

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Panama says goodbye to Russia 2018

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 20:00

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The Panama national team said goodbye to the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a 2-1 loss to Tunisia, which meant they lost all the group matches, but won experience in their debut in a World Cup.

The team coached by Hernán Darío "Bolillo" Gómez led the way in the first minutes, generating the best goal chances, although they could not score until the 33rdminute, when José Luis Rodríguez kicked a ball that deflected Yassine Meriah to push it in own goal.

With one goal against, Tunisia began to multiply and broke the circuits of Panama, which was quickly cornered in their area, without enough determination to get rid of the Tunisians.

The Africans won the equalizer in the 51st minute, when Ben Youssef pushed a ball that he received from Wahbi Khazri in the center of the area. The comeback would be completed 15 minutes later with Khazri's goal.

Tunisia controlled the ball 70% of the time, leaving hardly any space for Panamanian counterattacks that generated danger to the goal defended by Aymen Mathlouthi.

Panama could not add its first point in a World Cup, but already learned what it means to be among the best teams in the world and what is required to compete face to face at that level, which is implied in physical and tactical work besides the planning of each match of the first round.

The Mordovia Arena witnessed the devotion of a team that debuted with joy and that filled a country with pride, despite the adverse results. Therefore, they can boast of having scored two goals, starting with Felipe Baloy before a power like England.

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In the other match of the day, played in Kaliningrad, Belgium took advantage of a round trip to beat England 1-0, with a goal scored by Adnan Januzaj in the 51st minute to finish first in Group G, which will face Japan next Monday, July 2.

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Panamanian heroes arrived in Panama after Russia 2018

Sat, 06/30/2018 - 18:39


The players of the Panama national team arrived on Saturday in Panamanian territory after their historic debut in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. From the Tocumen International Airport, there was a considerable number of fans and relatives who accompanied the players in a caravan that crossed the entire city.

Ricardo "Pepe" Ávila, one of the players of the National Team, said now, after the first World Cup in Panama, he only has to focus on his club (Kaa Gent of Belgium) and continue working.

"We are very happy to return to our country and be again with our people," said the footballer.

The caravan that received the players ended up in Urracá Park, in the Panamanian capital, where they were paid tribute from the City Hall of Panama, where they were granted the Keys of the City, among other prizes.

After another World Cup

The coach of the Panama national team Hernán Darío "Bolillo" Gómez said - on his arrival today in the Central American country, after his participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia - the goal of Panama is to play a World Cup again.

"The most important goal at the moment is to return to a World Cup with a better face, and better knowledge of the tournament, from now on that must be our dream, to return to the World Cup," said Gómez on his arrival at a hotel, where the Panamanian national team gathered.

He added that "a high percentage of this team will be in the next qualifiers and there are already young players who have experience in qualifying and the World Cup."

"Bolillo" made it clear that the courage of the Panamanian team did not allow the results to be worse.

"The players were brave. you can’t compare the players in the English league, where the Belgians play and the Tunisians play in France. The results were not good, but it could have been worse," he said.

He said that in all three games, Panama were head to head with their rivals, despite the distance between them.

For the coach, something is always missing when talking about mission accomplished, but the important thing is that "we were in a World Cup; we suffered, enjoyed and defended our goal."

The Colombian clarified the situation in which Edgar Yoel Bárcenas’ tears were seen during training and what he told the coach of England.

"In the game England, Fifa came to the dressing room and told us it was not a World Cup for fight and problems.  It was seen when I told the coach that we were not going to fight and he told me it was fine. I scolded Bárcenas, but it had nothing to do with football," said the coach.

Gómez has not yet defined his future with the Panamanian national team. Concerning his continuity on the bench of the Central American team, he just said "We'll see when there's time to talk about that, for the moment I want to rest."



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