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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 09:44 AM EDT

Martinelli Says The "Red Tide" Unifies All Panamanians

Sports SectionPresident Ricardo Martinelli said Thursday that when the national team is playing soccer, all Panamanians, without distinction of political flags, come together. "When the Red Tide plays there is no 'opposition' or 'government,' we are all Panamanians and we are with our team," he said via Twitter. He was also confident of a Red Tide victory, but he said the game would be against Cuba when in fact they are playing Honduras on 8 May 2012. "We will classify and beat Cuba," said the President via his Twitter account. But then almost immediately he wrote "the game is now against Honduras, but then come the rest of the teams, that we must overcome to reach the World Cup." Panama, Cuba, Canada, and Honduras are in Group C in the third stage of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The wishes transmitted by President Martinelli, who is far away from Panamanian soil and the national soccer team. He traveled to Greece yesterday where according to the Ministry of Information of the Presidency of Panama he will demonstrate Panama's leadership in the shipping industry in the Poseidon International Maritime Exhibition. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Panama's participation in the third round of qualifying in the CONCACAF 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil starts tomorrow night. Panama is now ranked 46th in the world by FIFA and third within the CONCACAF behind Mexico (19th) and the United States (28th), Panama moved up six spots recently after beating Jamaica both home and away in a series of friendly tune-up matches. In March 2011 when the qualification schedules were announced, Panama was ranked 68th in the world and has moved up 22 spots in just the past fourteen months. Obviously Panama is ranked above the other three Group C teams they will be playing against in this round - Honduras (55th), Canada (77th), and Cuba (145th). Panama will play a total of six games between now and 16 October 2012 and the conclusion of third round, facing each of the other three teams twice, once at home and once on the road. The game tomorrow is scheduled to start at 19:30 UTC -6. Translated, that's 8:30 pm local Panama time. Grab a bar stool and a beer, it's going to be a fun game to watch. Hopefully Panama will win tomorrow and snatch three quick points against a relatively tough rival on the road. Here's the schedule for all of Panama's games in this round;

  • (Home, Visitor, Date)
  • Honduras vs. Panama - 8 June
  • Panama vs. Cuba - 12 June
  • Canada vs. Panama - 7 September
  • Panama vs. Canada - 11 September
  • Panama vs. Honduras - 12 October
  • Cuba vs. Panama - 16 October
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