Panama’s men’s soccer team earned a trip to the 2018 World Cup Tuesday night with a dramatic 2-1 win over Costa Rica, coupled with the U.S. team’s shocking defeat to Trinidad and Tobago.
For Panama, the win was a special occasion and prompted Pres. Juan Carlos Varela to declare Wednesday a national holiday. This will be the first World Cup for Panama, which has never advanced past the qualifying round.
Beyond the sports world, there is the reason for celebration, The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world and it will bring global attention to Panama. The country has developed as a world economic leader, and now it has shown it can compete on the biggest stage of the sporting world, too. The World Cup, which will be held in Russia, will provide tremendous advertising and exposure to Panama, introducing the country to soccer fans around the world.
Panama won the berth in dramatic fashion. Ramon Torres, who plays for the Seattle Sounders of the MLS, struck the game-winner with two minutes in regulation time, sending the crowd into hysteria.
The U.S. only needed a draw to advance, but fell 2-0 early. This will be the first time since 1986 that the U.S. has not participated in the World Cup.
— Embassy of Panama US (@EmbPanama_US) October 11, 2017