Panama sub becomes internet hero for crazy moment that secured first-ever World Cup spot


The United States had one of their worst nights in football (ahem, soccer) history on Tuesday night as they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 32 years.

There was several factors behind the Americans' demise and a good place to start is their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday.

With the likes of Christian Pulisic, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard - who let in a real howler - in their ranks, it has to be considered majorly underwhelming for the U.S. side.

Then there was Panama's 2-1 victory over Costa Rica under the most controversial of circumstances.

With the Panamanians trailing 1-0 early in the second half, 28-year-old Gabriel Torres was credited with a goal despite replays showing the ball never crossed the line.

As you can see by the replays below, it wasn't even really close. But, there is no goal-line technology in the North American qualifiers and the referees made a very, very bad judgment call.

Torres's goal tied the match at 1-1 and Roman Torres - no relation - scored in the 87th minute to win the game, sending Panama to Russia 2018 and knocking the U.S. out.

Despite the USA's failings and the goal that never was, there was another unsung hero that the population of Panama must thank.

With Costa Rica chasing the game following the late goal, the ball went out for a throw-in. However, when the Costa Rica player went to collect the ball, a Panama substitute put the burners on and beat him to it, smashing the ball away in the process.

It has to be said, it's either absolutely heroic or the ultimate dick move, depending what side of the fence you sit on. It's hard not to brand him a hero, unless you're a Costa Rica citizen, of course.


The USA are understood to be reviewing their options when it comes to the ghost goal that has ultimately kept them away from Russia next summer and an appeal may be forthcoming.

Either way, we salute the Panama substitute who did what he had to do!

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