FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Panama vs Tunisia PREVIEW
Two nations who have failed to achieve next round qualification which was expected, but they still have a game to play. This is Panama’s first world cup and their last world cup game up until god knows when, while Tunisia haven’t won a world cup game in decades so there’s going to be a lot on the line for these nations personally. Both want a win and both will go for it.
Panama may have been completely destroyed 3-0 by Belgium and 6-1 by England, but all they’ll care about is that one goal against England. Panama knew they weren’t going to win those games and were expecting bad defeats, but that one goal alone have meant so much to the nation. I mean Panama scored against the mighty England! Panama’s first world cup experience may not have went how they wanted, but there’s still one more game to play against Tunisia in which they may actually have a chance. The man who scored their only goal, Felipe Baloy has become a national hero. The defender latched on a cross and scored Panama’s first ever world cup goal. For that reason alone, he’s the standout man for Panama. Roman Torres defensively hasn’t been too bad, but Panama overall defensively have been disastrous but once again this was expected. They may lose all three games, but those passionate Panama fans enjoyed this experience and got to see their nation score and that is what they’ll take away from the tournament.
Tunisia came into this world cup with slightly higher expectations. The highest African side showed a little more threat than Panama and have actually given one of the big boys a tough game. They started the tournament with a 1-2 loss to England and that was the game they nearly stole a point. Tunisia were holding England off until the 90th minute which is when they got punished by Harry Kane’s header. It was a heart breaking defeat because had they picked up a draw they may still be in contention for R16 and not have had to attack Belgium which led to them getting battered 5-2. In the Belgium game, Tunisia had to be brave and go forward. They tried to attack but because Belgium are so talented, Tunisia simply got smacked around. Belgium exploited spaced and with Hazard and Lukaku in red hot form they destroyed Tunisia. It could’ve been way much worse than 5-2 had Batshuayi taken his chances. Defensively Tunisia have been tragic, but going forward they haven’t been bad at all. 3 goals against England and Belgium isn’t a bad ratio. Main standout players have been Sliti, Badri and Khazri. They’ve been creative. Tunisia will be hoping now that they can win their first world cup game since 1978 over the worst side in the tournament Panama and with their attacking threat it’s pretty likely to happen.
A game where we should expect Tunisia to be on the front foot. Tunisia have been the more attacking side than Panama over the two games against Belgium and England simply due to the fact that Tunisia have more talent. Panama are arguably the worst side in the tournament and they don’t have the players for them to allow to commit bodies forward as in that case they’ll just get destroyed at the back and although they have been leaky at the back, it would be even worse had they attempted to attack. Panama will sit back and hit Tunisia on the counters and hopefully win some set pieces from which they’ve scored their first ever world cup goal. As for Tunisia, they’ll have possession, they’ll throw more bodies forward and with players like Badri, Khazri, Sassi, Sliti you can expect them to create enough chances. Panama will have their moments too. The keys for Tunisia are that they gotta stop being so poor at the back, they’ve conceded 7 in 2 games and the same goes for Panama who conceded 9 in 2. Both sides have been leaky at the back. Panama must be especially solid at the back when Tunisia put them on the pressure, meanwhile Tunisia can’t allow Panama to break out and punish them on counters or set pieces.
Tunisia are the better side here, there’s no doubt about it. They have a few game changers which is something Panama lack and that will turn out the difference in the game. Expect Tunisia to dominate Panama and eventually they’ll crumble. Panama will have their chances, but essentially Tunisia will be more clinical. Expect Tunisia to win this game comfortably either 3-0 or 3-1. There’s always a chance that Panama may snatch a goal, but that will be about it for them. Tunisia have simply got more class on the pitch
1 England 6 pts +6 GD
2 Belgium 6 pts +6 GD
3 Tunisia 0 pts -4 GD
4 Panama 0 pts -8 GD
ODDS – Decimal (WilliamHill)
Panama Win – 4.20
Draw – 3.40
Tunisia Win – 1.80
KICK OFF – 28th June 2018 – 7pm UK Time