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What do Panama fans in Russia really think of their chances against England?

A few thousand Panamanians have made the trip to become the first set of fans to cheer their country on at a World Cup, and they just want one thing...


There’s an unofficial catchphrase going around the Panamanian fanbase in Russia right now.

“Just one goal is what I want,” says Panama City resident Luis Macrini.

When the Central American side take on England on Sunday lunchtime, no-one is really giving Hernan Gomez’s team much of a chance.

And whilst the boss is similarly pessimistic about their chances, saying he would down two bottles of vodka if his side knock out England or Belgium, the fans inside Russia will just be content with coming away from the tournament with a solitary goal.

Luis, Luis, and more Luis’

Luis, Luis, and more Luis’

“I would love us to score one goal,” says Ana Diaz, who made the 19-hour trip from Panama via Amsterdam.

“But also we are here to compete, otherwise there would be no point in us being at the World Cup.”

This is Panama’s first ever World Cup, securing their spot in Russia in October last year after beating Costa Rica.

It was such a momentous occasion that an impromptu bank holiday was called the following day as carnivals erupted around the nation.

Mother and daughter combo, both called Ana (naturally)

Mother and daughter combo, both called Ana (naturally)

If Panama do the unthinkable against England and secure even a draw, it will be utter carnage back home.

“Ah, there will be carnivals everywhere from Nizhny Novgorod to Panama City bro!” says Luis.

21-year-old Milagros agrees.

“Since October it’s been one non-stop party in Panama. We know that we’re not the best team here in Russia, but there’s so many of us that have come over to cheer the team on.

“My prediction? No wins, no draws, maybe one goal for us?” she adds, remembering the catchphrase.

For now, the Panama fans are soaking it up. They have come to Russia to have a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience – after all, who knows when they’ll next qualify for a World Cup?

Believe it or not, this is Panamanian TV teaching people how to dance outside a Moscow Metro station. The World Cup is weird.

Believe it or not, this is Panamanian TV teaching people how to dance outside a Moscow Metro station. The World Cup is weird.

“It’s historic, because it’s the first time we’ve been in the World Cup so we are truly the first people from our country experience our nation playing… it’s pretty cool,” says another Ana, as seemingly every Panamanian is called Luis or Ana.

As for the game itself? They don’t expect anything other than an England win, but even the staunchest Three Lions fan couldn’t be angry if Panama were to grab a consolation goal.

“The England team have such great potential – most people really like Harry Kane, and I think they are going to win 3-1” says Luis.

Ana is slightly more optimistic.

“Anything can happen in the game – the ball is round, after all,” she says.

“England are a hard team to play against, so were Belgium, but I thought we played pretty well despite us losing 3-0.

“It’s just a matter of being in the game and not losing our head.

“I think we might get a 1-1 draw, or maybe lose 2-1, but I think we are going to score.”

Just one goal. That’s all they want.