Panama (pictured) can advance to the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals with a win over Chile on June 14, 2016, in Philadelphia. (Photo: Mexsport)
PHILADELPHIA -- Panama defender Harold Cummings is confident that his side will advance to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
The Canaleros (1W-0D-1L, 3 points, GD-4) currently sit in third place in Group D and can only advance with a win over defending champion Chile (1-0-1, 3, GD0) on Tuesday at Lincoln Financial Field.
“On the field it’s 11 against 11,” Cummings said about the No. 5 team in the world according to the FIFA rankings. “The Copa America that Chile won is already in the past. This is a new Copa and Panama has a chance to qualify and we are going to fight. The mindset of teammates is at 100 percent because Tuesday against Chile is a final.”
In its last outing on Friday, 10-man Panama suffered a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina. It played down a man for nearly an hour after Anibal Godoy’s ejection. The score, however, was only 1-0, when Lionel Messi entered the match with less than 30 minutes to play. He went on to score three straight goals to put the game out of reach.
The Panamanians committed several defensive errors that led directly to goals, mistakes that need to be avoided against Chile, which needed a late goal to overcome Bolivia for its only win.
“I think that we have to reflect on the bad things we did,” stressed Cummings, whose team compiled six yellow cards and one red in the Argentina encounter. “We made a lot of errors (against Argentina). They were ones that they capitalized on. We knew that they were going to take advantage of them and still we committed them.
“I think that we have to reflect a little bit on the rough match that we played and how we went in hard on the ball. You have to recalibrate and know what we did poorly in order to improve.”
The Alajuelense standout closed by saying that whatever happens against Chile, Panama will leave everything on the field, finishing, “We are going to display our best football and give everything we’ve got.”
This will be the first meeting between Panama and Chile in more than six years. On January 10, 2010, the Chileans posted a 2-1 victory at home in Coquimbo.