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Panama's Anibal Godoy is going to the FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup preview: Panama

Who doesn't love a FIFA World Cup debutant? Panama make their first appearance in the finals of the FIFA showpiece and will be desperate to show they deserve to remain there for many years to come.

The Canal Men come to Russia after qualifying ahead of the United States with a memorable 2-1 win over Costa Rica - a win so important the president declared a national holiday.

Panama were actually trailing 0-1 in that match at the 54th minute, but came surging back to break Yankee hearts.

Panama's FIFA World Cup draw

18 June vs Belgium

24 June vs England

28 June vs Tunisia

The star players

Anibal Godoy (pictured) is the main strike weapon for Panama. The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder has 86 caps for his country and will be champing at the bit to make his World Cup debut.

Román Torres will be important at the back as well, with the Seattle Sounders FC defender a mainstay of the backline for a decade. 

Panama have built their qualifying campaign on defence and Torres will prove frustrating to navigate past. He is a complete player as well, having scored the match-winner over Costa Rica to get them here.

What needs to go their way

On paper, a lot. They only snuck into the finals in third place CONCACAF behind Mexico and Costa Rica and are the minnows on debut.

But they have a strong mentor in Columbian coach Hernán Darío Gómez, a man who has led four teams at World Cup finals.

There is a strong blend of experience fused with the youth of dynamos like Fidel Escobar, Michael Murillo and Deportivo La Coruña’s Ismael Díaz.

The draw is tough, but this is a side expected to lose everything - which makes them dangerous.

A genuine x-factor and a worthy second team to follow behind the Socceroos

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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