Group G: Panama – World Cup Betting Odds & Tips
Panama will make their World Cup debut this summer in Russia after narrowly missing out on making the 2014 edition in Brazil.
The Central American nation were minutes away from qualifying for the 2014 showpiece event after taking a 2-1 lead against the USA into additional time, however, they conceded twice in the final minutes to blow their chances of setting up a play-off clash with New Zealand.
However, fast forward four years and Panama exacted their revenge by defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the fifth round of CONCACAF qualifying, while the USA fell to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago and subsequently missed out on a place in Russia.
Panama, who are priced at 26.00 to top Group G, may not have any World Cup experience but they do have a manager in Hernan Dario Gomez who boasts plenty and he will be hoping to help them along the way.
Gomez is one of only two men to have led three different nations to the World Cup, having previously qualified with Colombia in 1998 and Ecuador in 2002.
The 61-year-old took charge of Los Canaleros in February 2014 and he has moulded them in to a well organised unit that take advantage of every set-piece situation. Group G has handed Panama with little chance of progression but it will at least provide them with an opportunity to face some of world football’s biggest stars.
The debutants head to Sochi for their group opener against Belgium on June 18 before facing England six days later in Nizhny.
Panama’s best opportunity to claim points looks likely to come in their final group match when they take on Tunisia on June 28 at the Mardovia Arena in Saransk, however, even that could prove a step too far against a nation that has made four previous appearances.