Although results have to fall in its favor on the CONCACAF Hexagonal’s last matchday, Panama (pictured at a recent training session) can still qualify directly for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo courtesy of the Federación Panameña de Fútbol)
ORLANDO, Florida – Panama (2W-4D-3L, 10 points) is looking to turn the page after Friday’s 4-0 loss at the United States (3-3-3, 12) in World Cup Qualifying.
The setback saw the sides trade places in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings, with the U.S. moving up to third and the Canaleros dropping to fourth.
“We did not expect this. We are in shock,” Panama defender Roman Torres said after the match. “I think that we have to be united. We have to be strong mentally. You have to turn the page and think about what comes next.”
Panama, which has never played in a World Cup, can still earn the region’s third and last direct berth to Russia 2018. In order for that to be possible, though, it will have to beat second-place visitor Costa Rica (4-4-1, 16) on Tuesday. Anything less will see either the U.S. or fifth-place Honduras (2-4-3, 10) claim the spot.
“You have to analyze the situation and think about it with a clear head and remember that there is still a possibility,” commented midfielder Edgar Yoel Barcenas. “I think that at home we can come back and have the chance to go to the World Cup.”
Heading into what will be the fifth meeting between Panama and Costa Rica in slightly more than a year, the Ticos hold a 2-1 advantage in wins.