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Brazil
Costa Rica
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Serbia
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6:00 PM UTC
Match 26
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Belgium
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12:00 PM UTC Jun 23, 2018
Match 29
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How Panama made World Cup dream a reality

Panama
Read

U.S. faces crucial test vs. Panama

Five Aside
Read

Panama do themselves, their people proud despite opening defeat to Belgium

Shaka Hislop gives his verdict on how impressive Romelu Lukaku and Belgium were to dispatch Panama and avoid an early World Cup slip-up.
A sublime Dries Mertens volley and two Romelu Lukaku goals gave Belgium a straightforward 3-0 victory over Panama.
The FC crew try not to read too much into Belgium's win over Panama, before homing in on Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku's respective roles.
One of two World Cup debutants, Panama will be looking to show they belong on the grandest stage of them all.
ESPN's Fernando Palomo and a special Panama sports legend recount how Los Canaleros wrote a new chapter of success en route to their first World Cup.

SOCHI, Russia -- As Panama's national anthem echoed around Fisht Stadium, the magnitude of the moment was impossible to miss.

Panama captain Roman Torres had his head down, eyes closed, engrossed in the realization of a dream. Panama fans everywhere belted out the anthem with unabashed joy, as if they had discovered a new favorite song. The players couldn't help but notice.

"It was very nice to see Panamanians, for them to see us playing internationally at our first World Cup, to see their happiness,"...

Belgium finally break Panama down as De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku deliver

Shaka Hislop gives his verdict on how impressive Romelu Lukaku and Belgium were to dispatch Panama and avoid an early World Cup slip-up.

SOCHI, Russia -- Belgium defeated Panama 3-0 in the World Cup opener for both sides in Group G. Here are three thoughts on the Red Devils' victory:

1. Belgium made to work but get the job done

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez had warned that this was a match that "we can't expect to win quickly," and his words proved prophetic. In terms of possession, Belgium had its way with Panama and had little difficulty forcing turnovers in the attacking half. But in the first half, a combination of sharp goalkeeping...

Underdogs Panama aim to emulate Mexico against powerhouse Belgium

The last few minutes of Germany v Mexico were nail-biting for everyone in the room. There was a loud groan when Manuel Neuer went up for the corner kick, given his reputation of being more than a keeper. And when the final whistle went, giving Mexico an unexpected and fully deserved win over the World Cup holders, Panama's president Juan Carlos Varela led the cheering, then shook hands with others in the Sochi bar watching along with him.

Varela's upbeat mood was understandable. Panama know...

Panama hoping first World Cup can help nation build for future success

One of two World Cup debutants, Panama will be looking to show they belong on the grandest stage of them all.
Ian Darke leads the ESPN panel in predicting the 2018 World Cup winner with names of Germany, Brazil, France and England among the list.
Stewart Robson feels England lucked out and got a fairly easy group that contains Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.

The 2018 World Cup is just over a month away, and all 32 teams are preparing in earnest for their shot at the trophy in Russia. ESPN FC is previewing every team ahead of the opening game on June 14. Find all 32 teams here.

Who they are

Captain: Roman Torres
Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez
Nickname: Los Canaleros, the Red Wave
FIFA rank (as of April 12, 2018): 56

How they qualified

Panama finished third in CONCACAF's Hexagonal round after a 2-1 win over Costa Rica that featured...



Panama ready to live World Cup dream after series of heartbreaks

One of two World Cup debutants, Panama will be looking to show they belong on the grandest stage of them all.
ESPN's Fernando Palomo and a special Panama sports legend recount how Los Canaleros wrote a new chapter of success en route to their first World Cup.
Panama will make their World Cup debut against Belgium with the highest average age of any team in Russia.
The Exploding Heads aren't about to pin any hopes on England, but it's all Anthony Richardson wants to talk about in Group G.

Julio Dely Valdes had been waiting for this moment his entire life. The former Panamanian international player and manager was sitting in his living room in Malaga, Spain. Roman Torres had just scored to put Panama ahead in a crunch World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. With the U.S. losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, a first qualification for the World Cup was in his country's grasp.

Minutes later the dream became reality, yet Dely Valdes could not celebrate with as much gusto as the moment demanded.

"When...

World Cup Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson reckons Group G is easy for England.

Of the groups with two European sides, this one is only upstaged by Group B with Portugal and Spain.

England know better than to underestimate anyone after the goalless draws with Algeria in 2010 and Costa Rica in 2014.

Tunisia will be hungry upon qualifying for the first time since 2006, while Panama are already national heroes and won't be playing under any pressure.

Predicted finish

1. Belgium -- Roberto Martinez the manager was made in England and he will no doubt show the Three Lions great...