By the time these two nations meet on June 24 in Nizhny Novgorod, Panama will no longer be the unknown quantity. This is their first World Cup finals, having only begun participating in qualifying forty years ago and now the Central American nation is in Russia.
La Marea Roja – the Red Tide – enjoyed a mixed 2017. They reached Russia with an unexpected 2 – 1 win over Costa Rica, who previously beaten them twice in the group stage.
Panama had good reason to be thankful to Los Ticos; a 95th minute equaliser against Honduras in their previous game meant Costa Rica sent Panama into the final round of fixtures with their destiny in their own hand. This after they had crashed to a 4 – 0 defeat to Team USA in Orlando.
England will fancy their chances; Panama were fortunate to get a draw against a makeshift Wales in November with their only win a big match this season coming when the Red Tide needed it. Before that, they lost to the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica; this is a side which will fight but ultimately lacks the quality to stop the bigger nations.
The odds of England winning at the time of writing are not enticing. Gareth Southgate’s men are currently 2/9 on to win, with Panama as far out as 16/1; the draw is 11/2.
England vs Panama betting
First match nerves will be over for England. They will hope to have won against Tunisia and this is the match where they want to fill their boots in front of goal.
Belgium will give the Three Lions pointers. Expect Panama to be defensive and Los Diables Rouge to test them with their fast-paced passing and technical game.
England are different; more physical than anything Panama are used to. Despite almost one week between the two games, fatigue may play a part toward the end of the 90 minutes.
It’s worth bearing this in mind when thinking about England vs Panama betting; goals may come in the latter quarter of the match.
Panama have problems scoring away from home, managing just one away from Panama City in the fifth round. In the previous group stage, they managed to score twice in Jamaica and in a 3 – 1 defeat in Costa Rica. Scoring against UK and BE may prove to be too tall an order, or certainly scoring enough to take points.
Which makes total goals tough to predict. The usual benchmark of over 2.5 goals is not the case for this game; it’s expected to be breached with the current odds as low as 4/6 on.
If you’re going to bet on England in these circumstances, it’s one of two extremes. Under 1.5 goals, the not unusual English struggle in front of goal is 3/1 at the time of writing. A rare moment when everything comes together for Southgate’s men, is currently at 28/13.
There is good value in the England vs Panama betting for this wager. England are favourites in the World Cup betting match outcome market, so the odds for England are surprisingly generous in the winning margin markets.
At the time of writing, England to win by 1 goal is 11/4 which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility given the Three Lions won four of their 10 qualifying games by that margin.
When the opposition was weaker, they tended toward comfortable margins, as Scotland and Malta found out. Where Panama’s biggest problem arises is scoring. England kept 8 clean sheets in qualifying which lends itself toward the winning margin of two goals (currently 11/4) or three or more goals at 6/4.
Harry Kane is the obvious name, but Raheem Sterling is likely to be as important for England. The Manchester City striker is enjoying his best season under Pep Guardiola with 19 goals in 22 Premier League, as well as 4 goals in 5 Champions League matches.
A tricky player for opponents to mark, Sterling’s form this season is in part due to his manager freeing him from the shackles of the wing. The 23-year-old, born in Kingston, Jamaica, is encouraged to attack spaces left by players pulled out of position by the array of stars at City’s disposal.
The test for Gareth Southgate is harnessing that intelligence from club level and bringing it to the international stage. That’s been a problem so far; Sterling has just 2 goals in 35 caps, both in 2015 at Wembley.
In matches of this type, England rely on their last line of defence. It’s a problem for Southgate this season with Joe Hart not featuring for West Ham on a regular basis. The England boss made it clear that players who were to play in the starting line-up must play for the clubs.
It leaves the way clear for Jack Butland to push his claims to be England’s number one. Despite Stoke City’s porous defence, Butland is being widely praised for his performances. The arrival of Paul Lambert has tightened the Potter back four which must improve Butland’s England chances further.
It makes for interesting reading in the England vs Panama betting markets. An England clean sheet is as odds-on as 1/2 with some bookmakers at the time of writing but England to win to nil is found at 4/5. To bet on England in these markets requires some creativity to find the best odds for the same outcome.
Bet on England vs Panama – Match Prediction
England are currently overwhelming favourites to win this match and unless there is a shock result by either Panama or Tunisia in their opening games, there’s little to suggest that will change between now and kick-off.
The values in the England vs Panama betting markets are in goals for this match and England are expected to win big. There are few outright maulings in the finals tournament of the World Cup so that expectation should be quelled.
However, a three-goal margin of victory isn’t beyond England’s capability and our prediction is England 3 – 0 Panama.