For Panama and Tunisia, the end of the road for their World Cup journey comes on Thursday. Both teams proved to be overmatched in Group G with powerhouse teams from Belgium and England. Panama has been particularly putrid as a team that made it to the tournament for the first time in their history.
Just getting to Russia was Panama’s World Cup. For Tunisia they had an incredibly close call in their opener against England. The defeat proved to be a back breaker. For the winner of this matchup it will be a more pleasant trip home. For the loser it will be something of an embarrassment. For both teams the 2018 World Cup can be summed up, at best, as an educational experience.
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2018 FIFA World Cup Panama vs. Tunisia
Date and Time: Thursday, June 28, 2018, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Mordovia Arena, Saransk
FIFA World Cup Odds at BetCris: Tunisia – ½ -118, Panama + ½ +103, Over 2 ½ -122, Under 2 ½ +107, Tunisia -118, Panama +345, Dra2w +264
Panama vs. Tunisia TV Coverage: FS1
Smelling the Roses
For Panama the qualification of making it to Russia was cause for national pride and celebration. Nobody was really concerned about the tall task and long odds that the team faced in the field of 32, not to mention the Group of Death with Belgium and England. Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez admitted that he wanted his team to have fun, enjoy the experience and lean from it.
A National Hero
Hernan Dario Gomez will go down in Panamanian football history as a legend for life and beyond. He was able to do what no other coach was able to accomplish in getting Panama into the World Cup final. Gomez is highly respected by his team and the players appreciate not only his ways but his wisdom.
Paying the Price
Panama’s lack of World Cup experience has certainly been a major problem. Their lack of history in making the event is evident in how they have been dominated. While they have seasoned players, they have not consistently played team at this high of level and it has shown.
Blowouts by the Best
In their opener Panama was taken apart by a highly talented Belgium team 3-0. Gomez tried to keep it close with an emphasis on defense but to no avail. Panama simply lacks the weapons to have a realistic chance against teams like Belgium. In their second game England bombarded them for a 6-1 triumph. The Three Lions feasted on Panama’s lack of depth an inexperience. They were able to play aggressively due to their knowledge that Gomez’s team had little to offer on offense.
What May Have Been
For Tunisia their 2018 World Cup will always be remembered for the heartbreaking opening match against England. The game was tied until the 90 minute mark when Harry Kane scored to pull out en epic win for the Three Lions. Had Tunisia gotten the tie the dynamics of the entire tournament may well have been different. But as it was the English were electrified as a potential team of destiny. Tunisia next faced Belgium and fell behind 5-1 before a consolation goal at the end of the game. But it was no actual contest. They also lacked the weaponry and depth against the World Class Red Devils. And the loss to England was something they were clearly not over.
Player to Watch
Tunisia does have a star player in Wahbi Khazri, who is a top scorer for Rennes in the French league. He will be one of the few scoring threats on the pitch in this one.
Panama vs. Tunisia Free Picks
While neither team has much in the way of a scoring arsenal Tunisia is the better team as evidenced by their close call with England. Panama has learned that they still have much to learn.
Panama vs. Tunisia Pick: Bet the money line on Tunisia
Panama vs. Tunisia Score Prediction: Tunisia 2, Panama 0
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