WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keeper: J. Calderon, J. Penedo, A. Rodriguez
Defence: F. Baloy, H. Cummings, A. Cooper, A. Godoy, G. Gomez, V. Pimentel, A. Quintero
Midfield: JL Rodriguez, E. Barcenas, A. Cooper, A. Godoy, G. Gomez, V. Pimentel, A. Quintero
Forward: A. Arroyo, I. Diaz, B. Perez, L. Tejada, G. Torres
Along with Iceland, Panama are making their World Cup debuts this year.
Their qualification came with some controversy, they finished third in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round after a 2-1 win over Costa Rica, they were a goal behind as they were awarded a corner, the ball came into the box, deflecting off of Gabriel Torres and striking the inside of the far post.
Striker Blas Perez, his shirt being pulled fell to the ground as the ball bounced off his shoulder before coming to rest on the goal line. He tried to get the ball across, but Costa Rica defender Ronald Matarrita, kicked the ball off of Perez and out of play on the other side of the post.
However, referee Walter Lopez of Guatemala gave the goal, and though Costa Rica complained that the ball never crossed the line, the goal stood. Panama went on to score a winning goal in the 87th minute to secure their spot in Russia at the expense of both Honduras and the United States.
Recent friendly results have been mixed to say the least, draws with Wales and Northern Ireland as well as 1-0 defeats against Norway and Denmark were they put in decent performances are somewhat overshadowed by a heavy 6-0 defeat against Switzerland at the back end of March.
Anything other than finishing bottom of Group G can be considered as something to build on for Panama here. The best they can hope for is some good performances and the younger players in the squad getting some decent experience for any future tournaments.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
This is probably Panama’s their best generation of players, with a mix of outgoing veterans such as goalkeeper Jaime Penedo (36), defender Felipe Baloy (37), Blas Perez (37) in attack and captain Roman Torres (32), along with some more youthful players such as; Miguel Camargo (24), Michael Murillo (22) and Ricardo Avila (21) who will be looking to make a good first impression.
Experienced keeper Jaime Penedo is the face of the team with 128 caps, the second-most ever for Panama. He plays for Dinamo Bucuresti, where he won a league cup with the Romanian side in 2017.
He previously won the best goalkeeper in the 2005 and 2013 editions of the Gold Cup; in both instances, Panama finished as runner-up to the United States, they will be relying heavily on their stopper in Russia.
11 of Panama’s 23 man squad have over 50 caps though a lack of experience at this sort of level will more than likely let them down. Gabriel Gomez and Anibal Godoy will most likely start in central midfield, supported by Edgar Barcenas and Alberto Quintero.
If Panama are going to defy the odds and progress from the group, they will be hoping on goals from 37 year old Blas Perez, as well as, Sport Boys striker Luis Tejada who has 43 goals in 104 caps and has started his season in Peru with 4 in his first 3 games,
Though with Tejada also at 36 years of age and, they both lack any real pace and one of them may find themselves on the bench for Gabriel Torres.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Belgium are arguably the best team in world football, with quality in virtually every area and could be genuine contenders to win the tournament. Thibaut Courtois in goal, is one of the top 5 keepers around at the moment, plus the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Kompany as the back 3, all are leading defenders in the Premier League.
Kevin De Bruyne is possibly the best midfielder in the world at the moment and Eden Hazard is another of the top talents in world football. Iin Romelu Lukaku they also have a goalscoring machine who will be a constant threat for any team he comes up against.
England are coming into the squad with a young squad and little expectations, question marks over their first choice keeper and still playing a relatively new system, for one of the “big” nations they possess what is on paper a very ordinary team.
However, they have shown themselves to be no pushovers – qualifying is a pretty much always a certaintainty, finishing unbeaten this time round in what was a fairly weak group, they only conceded 3 goals, 2 of which were against Scotland.
Even in recent friendly matches, they have secured draws with Germany, Brazil and Italy as well as a victory over Netherlands.
England do possess one legitimate star in Harry Kane and along with other attacking options like Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford they will be a threat going forward, Jesse Lingard has also had a very good season with Manchester United and often steps up on the big stages.
Tunisia qualified from what was probably the weakest group in African qualifying facing DR Congo, Libya and Guinea but they are coming into the tournament with injury and fitness concerns for some key players, they will have to be 100% at it every game to have any chance of getting to the last 16 but ultimately they are unlikely to have anywhere near the quality required here.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group G Fixtures / Results
|Sochi – June 18, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Volgograd – June 18, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Spartak Stadium – June 23, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Nizhny Novgorod – June 24, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad – June 28, 2018 8:00 pm|
|Saransk – June 28, 2018 9:00 pm|
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