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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 01:53 AM EDT

The World Stops For Panama vs. Honduras World Cup Qualifier Tonight

Sports SectionThe Panamanian men's soccer team starts today, Friday, 8 June 2012, the long path towards the World Cup Brazil 2014, facing Honduras. The team arrived motivated and very sure of victory at the start of the third stage of CONCACAF qualifying in Honduras. The potential starters for Panama could be Jaime Penedo; Felipe Baloy, Román Torrez, Luis Henríquez, Erick Vázquez, A. Henríquez, Juan Pérez, Nelson Barahona, Armando Cooper, Blas Pérez and Luis Rentería.

Coverage of the game starts at 8 pm on Friday, at the Metropolitan Stadium in San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Honduras is seeking their third appearance at the World Cup, while Panama is seeking their first opportunity. According to the newspaper Tiempo in Honduras, their team is most concerned about "Mighty Mouse" Blas Perez, Luis Renteria and Luis "El Matador" Tejada. The latter is in question, because he suffered muscle fatigue in the left thigh, and he was not in Panama's 2-1 recent victory at home over Jamaica last week. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Panamanians have little faith in their national men's soccer team. A well known phrase used to describe the team (in Spanish) is "they played like never before, only to lose like always." I spoke to a lot of people about tonight's game, and while everyone is hoping for a win they would be happy with a tie and one point. I think the team has more confidence in their abilities than their fans. Everyone really, really wants to see Panama go to the World Cup for the first time in 2014. There are 35 teams in the CONCACAF, and already the field has been narrowed down to 12. After this round there will be just six teams left, who will compete for the 3.5 spots in the fourth and final round. The top three qualifiers will go to Brazil, and the potential fourth spot will come from the winner of an inter-conference consolation match. The long and the short of it is - if Panama wants to go to the World Cup, they will have to be able to beat teams like Honduras on the road, regularly and not just by a fluke.

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