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Despite absorbing an embarrassing 6-1 loss to England in the group stage of the World Cup, Panama is celebrating like it has won the event. Panama achieved many firsts in the 2018 edition of the World Cup.
One, this marks the first time it has qualified for the event. Second, defender Felipe Baloy recorded Panama’s first-ever goal in a World Cup.
England was already on its way to victory with a commanding 6-0 lead when 37-year-old Baloy sparked a wild celebration back in Panama by scoring the country’s first World Cup tally in the 78th minute.
“It’s a goal that will remain in the history of Panamanian football,” Baloy says. After the game, Baloy said he will retire from international competition.
Baloy Will Leave Panama In Good Hands
According to Baloy, he will leave Panama in good hands as it has several good young players. Among them are Ricardo Avila, Fidel Escobar, Harold Cummings, Michael Murillo, and Eric Davis.
“They’re young players with a lot of talent,” said Baloy, who credited Avila for his first World Cup goal. Baloy said the 21-year-old midfielder has shown a lot of potential to become a great player for Panama.
Baloy added that the World Cup experience against outstanding teams and great players will help the team’s young players to learn and develop their game.
“When the coach [Hernan Dario Gomez] said we were coming here to learn, that is exactly what he meant,” Baloy said. “We were coming up against world-class teams with great players.”
Baloy made his international debut for Panama in 2001, and his appearance against England was his 101st cap. In his career with the national team, Baloy has scored four goals for Panama.
Baloy has played professionally in several countries, including Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Currently, Baloy plays in the Guatemalan league.
Panama Eyes First World Cup Win
While Panama is going home after its 3-0 opening game loss to Belgium and a v-goal loss to England, Hernan Gomez’s squad will try to make history as it goes for its first World Cup win against Tunisia in Group G.
Baloy says Panama can carry the momentum of its first-ever World Cup goal in going after their first win against Tunisia. Baloy said the team can use its experience in playing a much superior team in England when it faces Tunisia.
“It’s a result to reflect on, we have to work hard. Our opponents were superior, they won 6-1, we have to work now towards the game against Tunisia,” said Baloy. “The team must get even stronger, we need to show that this is a united group.”
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