Join us on this journey as we dish out the inside scoop on each squad's strengths, weaknesses, players to keep an eye on, and what a pass mark might be for each nation.
Next up, we look at another World Cup debutante in Panama.
FIFA Women's World Cup Appearances: 0
Best performance at a FIFA Women's World Cup: N/A
Players to watch
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Riley Tanner is likely to play a key role in attack for the country of her mother's birth. Tanner scored on debut against Papua New Guinea in the inter-confederation playoff and led the line in the 4-3 goal fest against the Dominican Republic.
The Washington Spirit player does her best work cutting in from the right, as evidenced by her goal on debut versus PNG, and could be a weapon for Panama in some tough fixtures.
Although she has only been capped less than ten times, 22-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey is a star for the Panamanian national side. She made some incredible saves to get her country to the World Cup and will likely be one of the busier ‘keepers at this year's competition.
Midfielder Marta Cox is almost a veteran of this very young Panama side with 20 caps to her name. She is also the key player for Panama at this tournament.
The central midfielder will be a vital cog in the La Marea Roja engine room. Plying her trade with Liga MX Femenil side Pachuca, she will bring a different level of quality to this Panama side.
Save for a 4-0 belting at the hands of Chile in a friendly, Panama has a good form line in 2023. Another nation that needed the inter-confederation playoffs to book their spot, Panama defeated Papua New Guinea and Paraguay in February to ensure the team made its bow in Australia and New Zealand.
Two home friendlies against the Dominican Republic resulted in one-goal victories - 1-0 and 4-3, respectively -, ensuring Panama carried that winning feeling through April.
Looking ahead, Panama take on Colombia in two pre-World Cup send-off friendlies before arriving in Australia. On the team's way to Australia, Panama face Japan in the MS&AD Cup just 10 days out from its first World Cup fixture.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: Youthful exuberance is a weapon that Panama has in its arsenal. Experience is crucial (read more about that in the weaknesses section of this article), but a lack of it means the team can play with no fear, and virtually no expectation. Harnessed correctly, it could potentially give Panama what it need to pull off an unlikely upset (or two).
Weaknesses: In a definite case of having cake and eating it too, the same thing that could give them an edge is also their biggest potential weakness. With Panama's World Cup squad not likely to have more than a handful of players 25 years old or older, youth could be a large obstacle for them. You don’t win things with kids is the old catch cry - can Panama make a mockery of this old adage? Not impossible, but highly improbable.
At odds of 501/1, the best that Panama can hope for in a very tough group is to put in a respectable performance. As long as Las Canaleras aren’t on the receiving end of a record defeat - they can leave the FIFA Women’s World Cup with their heads held high.
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