Football

Panama in action v Costa Rica.

No one can believe Panama's 'ghost goal' that eliminated USA from the World Cup

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On Tuesday evening, the initial stage of World Cup qualifying came to a climatic end, with a number of nations across the globe still with their destiny needing to be settled.

In Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal sealed automatic passage to Russia with a convincing 2-0 win over Switzerland, who fell down into the play-offs.

France and Sweden also secured qualification at the expense of Holland, despite Arjen Robben's attempts, with the Bayern Munich man scoring a brace.

Over in South America, the drama was even more intense, with Lionel Messi guiding Argentina to the finals with a hattrick against Ecuador.

Chile also failed to qualify, with Peru and Colombia drawing 1-1 to eliminate Alexis Sanchez's Copa America-winning outfit.

However, perhaps the sight of the biggest drama on the final night was over in Panama, with the tiny Central American nation amazingly qualifying for the World Cup.

Who did they eliminate? The USA, who lost 2-1 out in Trinidad & Tobago, with Mexico comfortably winning the group.

Panama beat group runners-up Costa Rica at home 2-1 after going 1-0 down late in the first half.

But, their equaliser was littered with controversy.

FBL-WC-2018-PAN-CRC

A corner was lofted into the box and there was a scramble between a number of players around the post.

At first glance, the ball sort of appears to go over the line, however, after watching the replays, the decision to award a goal becomes farcical.

VIDEO

That ball certainly does not cross the line and it should have been awarded as a goal kick. The term 'ghost goal' certainly springs to mind.

Twitter could simply not believe what had happened.

TWITTER REACTS

Had they not been awarded it and only mustered one in reply to the Costa Ricans, the Americans would have got a play-off spot.

However, nothing could be disputed about their dramatic winning goal in the 87th minute, with Roman Torres firing into the net after a brilliantly lofted through ball.

Here's a video of his strike with some Titanic music, just to enhance the experience.

TORRES' WINNER

Not bad, eh? Panama became the 79th different nation to make the finals and after their impressive qualifying campaign, they may be one for the neutral next summer.

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