Of all the qualifiers for 2018 World Cup in Russia, you would have to say that Panama are the most surprising. The tiny Central American nation is known more for hats and canals than football, but the plucky underdogs battled their way through the CONCACAF section of qualifying at the expense of the likes of the USA and Honduras.
And yet maybe their progress shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: they have done very well in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Copa Centroamericana in recent years.
But the truth is that many of their players won’t even have left the American continent in their lifetimes, and a trip to Russia will be something of a culture shock! And playing a team with the quality of Belgium will also be a unique experience for the Panamanians too. The Belgians are currently enjoying what is known as a ‘golden generation’: a once in a lifetime set of players that, so far at least, have failed to live up to their potential on the international stage.
Will the World Cup be the tournament where this Belgium team finally realizes their potential? Read our Belgium vs Panama preview and find out!
1. Team News
|Statistics for last 10 matches ||Belgium / Panama |
|Number of wins: ||8 / 3 |
|Number of draws: ||2 / 2 |
|Avarage scored goals per match: ||3.4 / 1 |
|Avarage conceded goals per match: ||0.8 / 1.3 |
|Failure to score matches: ||1 / 5 |
|Team form (last 5 matches): ||W W D W W / L L W D L |
On Monday, Belgium won a friendly match against Costa Rica (4-1). What's more interesting, Eden Hazard came off in the 70th-minute cause of some leg problems. Fortunately, nothing big happened and Hazard will be fit for the match against Panama.
Panama will have to watch out for Lukaku as he really looks like in a great form, scoring goals after goals...
Not much to say about Panama squad... they are all ready and fit for their World Cup debut. In latest updates, they recently drew 0-0 with Northern Ireland and lost 0-1 with Norway in friendly fixtures.
2. Belgium vs Panama odds
So, what are Belgium vs Panama betting odds telling us? It will come as no shock to seasoned football punters that Belgium are a strong favourite with the bookmakers, and indeed the biggest shock might be that you can get betting odds of 1.21 for them winning this match.
Panama can be backed at 26.00 – that is an example of how up against it they will be here in Sochi on June 18, with the draw available at 7.50. Be sure to check out more betting odds for World Cup matches!
3. Belgium vs Panama predictions
What are our Belgium vs Panama predictions? Any exploration of Belgium’s chances at World Cup 2018 have to focus on their quality they have at their disposal. Even at first glance the spine of the team – Courtois, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Nainggolan, Dembele, De Bruyne, Hazard, and Mertens – is as good as anything on the planet, and their ambitions in Russia will surely extend beyond simply beating Panama and getting through the group stage. The Belgians are here to lift the trophy.
The obvious problem is that they don’t seem to bring their best football to major tournaments, having been knocked out in the quarterfinals of both the World Cup in 2014, and Euro 2016. Perhaps the appointment of Roberto Martinez as manager, who guided Wigan to knockout competition success in the FA Cup, is a shrewd one.
What more Belgium vs Panama betting tips? As far as analysis of the Panama squad goes….we don’t know too much about them, unfortunately! It’s clearly an experienced set of players, with the midfield quartet of Gomez, Cooper, Quintero, and Godoy boasting more than 400 international caps between them, and so they won’t be overawed on the occasion of the biggest game of their lives.
Their results in qualifying indicate a side that will prove to be no pushovers. They drew with Mexico and beat Costa Rica – who reached the knockout phase of the World Cup in 2014, remember, and took a creditable point off the USA too.
Be under no illusions, Belgium will win this match and win it well. If you are placing an accumulator bet then the Belgians must be in it, but for the value for this game, only then the value has to be in backing them with a -1.50 Asian Handicap at 1.57. This bet will land if the Belgians win by two or more goals.
Many pundits’ dark horses for the World Cup, Belgium, launch their campaign on June 18 with a straightforward encounter against debutants Panama. Will the Belgians begin their assault on the trophy in convincing fashion?
4. Belgium vs Panama live streaming
Even though live streaming schedule allows you to check what games will be played only one week in advance, there is a great possibility you will be able to watch World Cup games online at Bet365 or 1xBet. You can read more about World Cup live streaming here.
You might ask yourself, do I need to pay for live streaming? For example, on Bet365 website, live streaming is free of charge, however you must have a Sports account or have placed a bet within the last 24 hours in order to watch streams.