Panama′s World Cup 2023 fixtures:
How did Panama qualify?
Panama qualified via the CONCACAF W Championship. They finished third in their group, losing to Canada and Costa Rica but beating Trinidad & Tobago, thereby advancing to the inter-confederation play-offs. There, los Canaleras beat both Papa New Guinea 2-0 and Paraguay 1-0, thereby qualifying for the very first time.
Panama’s major tournament record:
Best World Cup result: Set to make their debut.
CONCACAF W Championship
Best CONCACAF W Championship result: Semi-finals- 2018.
Panama at World Cup 2023
Five years after Panama made their men’s World Cup debut, the women’s national team will get their chance to compete on the biggest stage.
Back in 2018, Panama lost all three games in Russia, conceding 11 goals, so the challenge to los Canaleras is to do better than their male counterparts.
This certainly won’t be easy though, with Ignacio Quintana’s side massive underdogs in Group F.
Panama had to come through nine matches to get here, first swatting aside minnows Barbados, Belize, Aruba and El Salvador.
Next, la Marea Roja finished third in their CONCACAF W Championship group, with a narrow 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago enough to earn them an inter-confederation play-off spot.
So, back in February, they travelled over 7,500 miles to New Zealand for the two biggest matches in Panamanian women’s football history.
First, goals from Marta Cox and then Riley Tanner were enough to see off Papua New Guinea in Auckland.
Four days later, they went into the final against Paraguay as slight underdogs, but Lineth Cedeño’s header, coming just 14 minutes from time, was enough to secure this historic qualification.
Los Canaleras’ reward for all that hard work is a place in a very competitive Group F.
Panama will make their World Cup debut against Copa América champions Brazil in Adelaide, before an all-CONCACAF affair against Jamaica in Perth, concluding against juggernauts France in Sydney.
Without wanting to be harsh, it would be a big surprise if Quintana’s team didn’t leave Australia empty handed.
Panama team news
Amazingly, no member of the Panamanian squad has more than 50 caps their name, showing just how inexperienced a team this is.
Panama′s key players: Marta Cox
Panama’s top-scorer and star is Marta Cox, who netted four times en route to this qualification, including breaking the deadlock against Papua New Guinea.
Four days later, in the inter-confederation play-off final, it was her free-kick that produced the match-winner against Paraguay.
Cox bagged her 15th international goal in a recent friendly victory in Gibraltar, achieving this in less than 40 caps.
The 25 year old attacking midfielder has spent the last three seasons playing in Mexico, first with Club León before joining current employers Pachuca.
Panama′s key players: Lineth Cedeño
The hero of Panama’s win over Paraguay was Lineth Cedeño, with her header in Hamilton securing qualification, sparking wild celebrations that day.
The 22 year old has since taken her international goal tally to ten, one of which came against Jamaica five years ago, hoping to repeat that feat when these two meet in Perth.
Cedeño has spent the last two seasons in Italy, first joining Hellas Verona before moving to Sampdoria.
She endured a tough season with I Blucerchiati, failing to find the target in 13 appearances, but remains a key figure for her national team.
Panama′s key players: Riley Tanner
To raise the level of this team, the FEPAFUT have been recruiting dual-nationals, one of which is Riley Tanner.
She made her debut for Panama in the inter-confederation play-offs, starting both ties, scoring the clinching goal against Papua New Guinea.
The American-born striker is eligible because her mother was born in Panama City, and was seen as a bit of a coup when she committed, given that Tanner is only 23 years old.
She has though struggled for minutes with NWSL club Washington Spirit this season, making just two appearances, both in the Challenge Cup, proving an assist in a victory over Orlando Pride.
Could Tanner became Panama’s first-ever World Cup goal-scorer?
Panama′s possible starting line-up for World Cup 2023
Panama′s full squad for World Cup 2023
|Farissa Córdoba||4||0||Club Ñañas|
|Sasha Fábrega||3||0||Independiente de La Chorrera|
|Yomira Pinzón||19||3||Deportivo Saprissa|
|Hilary Jaén||15||0||Jones County Bobcats|
|Rebeca Espinosa||9||0||Sporting San Miguelito|
|Wendy Natis||8||0||América de Cali|
|Nicole De Obaldía||7||0||Herediano|
|Rosario Vargas||5||0||Rayo Vallecano|
|Carmen Montenegro||3||0||Sporting San Miguelito|
|Erika Hernández||1||1||Plaza Amador|
|Natalia Mills||12||0||LD Alajuelense|
|Riley Tanner||2||1||Washington Spirit|
|Karla Riley||11||5||Sporting San José|