PANAMANIANS awoke to an unscheduled public holiday on Wednesday, Oct 11, to mark the country’s first appearance in the World Cup after an 87th-minute goal by the team captain.
President Juan Carlos Varela declared the holiday in the early hours after Panama defeated Costa Rica 2-1 to qualify for the 2018 event in Russia. Both Panama goals were scored by team captain and defender, Toman Torres.
Panama’s celebration came on the same night that the USA was eliminated and will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
“After a cliff-hanging game, the Panamanian team had as its hero the great defender Roman Torres, who took advantage of one of the few oversights of Costa Rica’s defense to put the final score that solidifies a dream, to classify Panama to its first World Cup .” said El Siglo
In contrast to Panama, the United States has a population of 323.1 million. Their opponents on Tuesday, Trinidad and Tobago, have a population of 1.3m – roughly the same as the US state of Maine. Says the BBC
Described as the “most surreal and embarrassing night in US soccer history” and “simply devastating” by American journalists, the players were left in tears following their shock 2-1 loss.
“It’s a blemish for us. We should not be staying at home for this World Cup and I take responsibility,” coach Bruce Arena said of a team ranked 28th in the world. “We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point.”