In the Panama preview for this summer’s Copa America Centenario tournament, we look at the team’s schedule of games as well as the squad roster. We also predict how far the team will advance in the competition, as well as more information on their star player.

Panama preview:

Manager: Hernan Dario Gomez

Captain: Felipe Baloy

Panama preview: Squad:

GOALKEEPERS (3): José Calderón (Plantense, HON), Jaime Penedo (Saprissa, CRC), Alex Rodríguez (San Francisco, PAN)

DEFENDERS (6): Felipe Baloy (Atlas, MEX), Harold Cummings (Alajuelense, CRC), Fidel Escobar (Sporting, PAN), Luis Henríquez (Tauro, PAN), Adolfo Machado (Saprissa, CRC), Roderick Miller (San Francisco, PAN)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Ricardo Buitrago (Juan Aurich, PER), Miguel Camargo (Mineros de Guayana, VEN), Armando Cooper (Árabe Unido, PAN), Aníbal Godoy (San José Earthquakes, USA), Gabriel Gómez (Cartaginés, CRC), Amílcar Henríquez (América, COL), Valentín Pimentel (La Equidad, COL), Alberto Quintero (San José Earthquakes, USA)

FORWARDS (6): Abdiel Arroyo (RNK Split, CRO), Martín Gómez (San Francisco, PAN), Roberto Nurse (Mineros de Zacatecas, MEX), Blas Pérez (Vancouver Whitecaps, CAN), Luis Tejada (Juan Aurich, PER) Gabriel Torres (Zamora, VEN)

Panama preview

Panama preview: Overview:

While Panama will fancy their chances of picking up a win at this centenary edition of the Copa America, the draw did little to enrich their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages.

That’s because after an opening game against Bolivia, Gomez’s men will face last year’s runners-up Argentina, followed by finalists Chile in their last group game. It means Los Canaleros will have to produce something very special indeed if their Centenario stay is to extend beyond June 14, when they face the holders.

Panama showed they could be competitive at the Gold Cup last summer, although finding a better blend in their play is imperative. In the tournament they didn’t actually lose a game inside 90 minutes, drawing their three group matches before knocking out Trinidad & Tobago on penalties in the quarter-finals. But they didn’t win a game in normal time either.

In that competition they went toe-to-toe with eventual winners Mexico—who beat Panama in extra time in the semi-finals—and the United States, toppling Jurgen Klinsmann’s men on penalties in the third place playoff. With players like Gabriel Gomez, Jaime Penedo and Blas Perez to call upon, there’s a clearly gritty spine to the Panamanian XI.

There needs to be more than just determination in a testing Group D, though. The manager must find a way of ensuring his team are a threat to opposition defences and perhaps that’s why he’s included 18-year-old Ismael Diaz in the squad. The Porto B man is a raw prospect, but has also shown in his two appearances at international level he can add an edge going forward.

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