The bustling capital of Panama halted its activities for more than 90 minutes Monday to watch the debut of its national team in the 2018 World Cup Russia against Belgium, a match that ended with Panama’s defeat 0-3.
All dressed in red, the Panamanian fans gathered in different parks across the Central American country, where they could watch the game from start to finish on giant screens.
An emotional moment, as seen at Urraca Park, located in the Panamanian Cinta Costera, took place when the Panamanian national anthem was played. From the youngest to the oldest, they all sang at the top of their lungs in front of the images of the Panamanian players on the screen.
At the start of the game, Panamanian flags were raised at every venue where often thousands of fans gathered.
Heat and high humidity in Panama City did not stop the public from giving applauses and cheers, which constantly became louder with each of the Panamanian squad’s touch of the ball.
Happy faces remained ubiquitous until the start of the second half, but when the Belgians scored their first goal, the faces of many started to change.
That image was seen again when their European rival got the two other scores, but between those goals, many still had hopes that the Panamanians could score their first goal in the FIFA World Cup – a wish that eventually failed to materialize in this game.
With 0-3 on the scoreboard, the Panamanians began to return to their daily lives, others were frozen in front of the screen as if they could not believe what was happening, while others smiled and applauded despite the defeat.
The Panama team will return to the field on Jun. 24 for their second match in Group G of the World Cup against England.