Action from the Copa Centroamericana match between Panama and Costa Rica (white jersey) on January 22, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – With a productive week, Panama (1W-2D-1L, 5 points) can build momentum on the road to Russia 2018.
The Canaleros occupy third place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, but with wins over second-place Costa Rica (7 points; June 8, away) and fifth-place Honduras (4 points; June 13, home), their position in the table could be solidified further.
“The team is focused,” said goalkeeper Jose Calderon from the team’s training camp in El Salvador. “We have to get the necessary points as much away as at home. We have a good group that has been working together for many years.”
Panama has never won a World Cup Qualifier at Costa Rican (0-1-6L), so maintaining composure at the Estadio Nacional will be key to snapping that skid.
“You have to stay calm in the first, middle and final minutes,” Calderon remarked. “When they provoke us, we lose our concentration and we forget about playing and we think more about fighting.”
Defender Eric Davis emphasized the importance of keeping Costa Rica off the scoreboard, especially since the Ticos have scored 11 goals in four home WCQ games.
“We know what we are playing for. We have all come in committed,” the 26-year-old finished. “These matches are decisive. Against Costa Rica, we have to be focused. You pay for any error