***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Panama, which has been to one World Cup, in 2018.
“😍❤️LOVE YOU FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO😍❤️”
Nickname: Los Canaleros
FIFA Ranking: 61 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from CONCACAF third round Octagonal group stage, finishing 5th behind Canada, Mexico, United States and Costa Rica
Prior to 2017, Panama didn’t believe in true love. They had no idea what it felt like, or even believed that it existed. I mean, it had already gone through years of mediocrity and had their fare share of flings that crashed and burned, but they just thought that falling in love was something that only happens to the godlike celebrities in the gossip pages of La Prensa, or to Miguel when he proposed to Angélica on Panama’s #1 hit telenovela Amor Sin Igual. Panama never for a second believed it would fall in love itself. Never. It never dared to dream of something so preposterous. However, on 11th October 2017, that all changed, when it fell head over heels crazy in love with Trinidad and Tobago.
Going into the final matchday of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, surprise, surprise, Panama yet again were about to be dumped out of contention for the tournament. To qualify they needed a miracle, and miracles just don’t happen to Panama–they happen to everyone else, but that’s the story of Panama’s life.
At the Ato Bolden Stadium in Balmain, Couva, the United States just needed a draw in their final group game away to Trinidad and Tobago and they’d be heading to the World Cup in Russia, dumping Panama for the second time in 4 years from something they actually liked (the World Cup).
Lo and behold, Trinidad & Tobago (PANAMA’S DREAMBOATS)–who had already been eliminated and were rooted to the bottom of the table–did what only they would do, because they are ABSOLUTE HONEYS THAT PANAMA WILL LOVE FOREVER, and not only did they score once, but they’re such great guys that they did it TWICE. Okay, okay, so they did concede a 47th minute goal to Christian Pulisic but Panama just knows that The Soca Warriors did it just to tease, because Trinidad and Tobago’s so cheeky and adorable like that, and in the end it didn’t matter anyway, because after Roman Torres 85th minute strike gave Panama a 2-1 win over Costa Rica and Panama’s soulmate Trinidad & Tobago hung on to win 2-1, Trinidad and Tobago (TOTAL BABE) knocked out the United States and consequently sent Panama to its first ever World Cup.
Oh My God, Panama are smitten. SMITTEN. FOR EVER. PANAMA WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. ALWAYS MWAH MWAH MWAH LOVEEEEE
P.S. Don’t tell anyone but Panama also have a huge crush on Omar Gonzalez. Mmmm…. That own goal… Damn… Panama needs a cold shower.
One to watch: That you don’t miss the canal, if you’re trying to get from one ocean to the other
If you’re journeying coast to coast from, say, New York to San Francisco (or vice versa) by boat, jetski or any other watercraft in order to avoid the treacherous land expedition and the injury, exhaustion and disease that will no doubt befall you, your travelling party and your carrier donkeys, you’re gonna wanna keep an eye out so you don’t miss your turn off through the Panama Canal. As you career, sail or paddle your way south along along the contiguous coastline of continental USA, either on the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, be careful and keep your eyeballs pealed, because all that’s needed is one momentary lapse in concentration and you’ll miss your entry point through the Panamanian isthmus. And at that point, you’re gonna have a tough decision to make: “Do I plow on and keep navigating my way through the high seas of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean a further 12,874km around the southern tip of South America, or do I construct another canal through the Americas (perhaps Nicaragua, as was originally intended?), which should take about 10 years and cost at least 5,000 labourers’s lives? “
You’ve been warned, so focus and keep your head in the game!
The Highpoint: The 2018 World Cup, i.e. Being the world’s best ever palindrome
Much like mathematician Leigh Mercer‘s ‘A man, a plan, a canal: Panama’, the history of Panama’s national soccer team in the World Cup is also a palindrome–it reads exactly the same forwards as it does backwards. First, there was the nothingness before that night in 2017 (see above), and then there was the nothingness after.
Apart from a few small blips on the radar in 2018–a goal against England (after being already 6-0 down) and their brief participation and subsequent rapid elimination from the World Cup–you can look at Panama’s World Cup history in either direction of their solitary World Cup appearance and there’s no difference.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
10 November 2022
PANAMA 🇵🇦 x 🇸🇦 SAUDI ARABIA
CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE & CONCACAF GOLD CUP 2023 QUALIFYING
COSTA RICA 🇨🇷 x 🇵🇦 PANAMA