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,"...
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...
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...
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...
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.