Since it began in 1930, every World Cup has featured at least one team appearing for the first time.
Along with fellow debutantes Iceland, Panama have kept that streak alive going into 2018 by qualifying for their first ever World Cup with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday night.
The winning goal was scored by Roman Torres two minutes from time, accompanied by suitable excitement from the native commentary team…
— SomosLaSele (@SomosLaSele) October 11, 2017
While Torres’ goal proved to be the decider, one heroic Panamanian ball-boy can also claim a sizeable assist in the victory.
When it came to whittling away the dying seconds of the match, this young lad recognised what needed to be done and, by Jove, did he do his country proud…
— Juan Felipe Celia (@jfcelia) October 11, 2017
After attempting (and failing) to qualify for every World Cup since 1978, Panama’s president Juan Carlos Varela was so ecstatic with the result that he officially declared the following day to be a national holiday, thus allowing his people to celebrate properly.
— #WCQ ⚽️🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) October 11, 2017
Announcing the decision on Twitter, President Varela wrote:
The voice of the people has been heard… Tomorrow will be a national holiday.
The president also added that both public and private workers would be allowed to take the day off, and that all school classes would be cancelled to allow for maximum revelry.