Canal Men in deep water
Panama fans will surely be happy to just make up the numbers and enjoy their three games in a tournament a few major names were unable to qualify for. They can be found in Group G alongside England, Belgium and Tunisia and most football fans expect them to rate as the pool’s whipping boys. That shouldn’t be too far away from the truth. 2000/1 to win the trophy.
The Canal Men are playing in their first World Cup competition and will make their long-awaited bow against Belgium on Monday 18th June, a match you can follow live on BBC from 4.00pm before England’s first outing. They’re then in action against the Three Lions on the Sunday of that week and bookies have them as losers of each game.
The prices will change depending on how they handle themselves against Belgium in game one but, at present, they are a chunky 19/1 with Betfair to beat England with the favourites 2/9 with the same firm. Here’s three of Hernan Dario Gomez’s best players…..
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Cooper scored in Cardiff
The fact no scorer is favourite in the Panama top goal scorer market tells punters everything they need to know of what’s expected during the team’s short stay in Russia but if they are to nick a goal or two Gabriel Torres is expected to be the man to do it. The 29-year-old striker from Panama City has hit the net 15 times in 68 caps for his country and is currently employed by Chilean team Huachiptao.
The Little Ghost is 5/1 with Bet Victor to be his country’s most successful player during June. He recorded a couple of important goals during the CONCACAF Gold Cup last year, netting against Nicaragua in a 2-1 win and Martinique in a 3-0 result. Shouldn’t get a lot of opportunities to build on his tally but the fans love him and he’ll pose a threat to England.
Next in the top goal scorer betting market is Armando Cooper, a 30-year-old midfielder from Colon, Panama who can be backed at 6/1 (Bet Victor). We’re sure one goal would be enough to win this bet so it may be worth looking beyond the favourite if you fancy an interest play to keep you involved in La Marea Roja’s campaign.
Cooper is also plying his trade in the Chilean Primera Division where he represents Universidad de Chile following his arrival earlier this year. Has also enjoyed stays in MLS but did play for a brief spell in Germany for St Pauli in 2015. You may remember Cooper as the scorer of Panama’s goal vs Wales in Cardiff during a 1-1 November draw, matching a Tom Lawrence effort.
One of many Panama players who play their club football in America. 32-year-old defender Roman Torres will surely have a busy couple of weeks ahead of him filling in as centre-back for a team expected to be on the back-foot for over 270 minutes of competitive action where every touch of the ball is scrutinised. The experienced head has over 100 international caps to call upon.
Seattle Sounders player has, rather surprisingly, managed to get forward and help himself to no less than 10 goals for the country but he doesn’t feature too often in the MLS scorer charts. At 6ft 2inches tall he’s a commanding figure who England will have to keep an eye on in both boxes. Assured with his back to goal he can also do a job at set-pieces going forward.