Panama President Declares National Holiday After World Cup Qualification

Panama’s president has declared Wednesday a national holiday after the country secured World Cup qualification for the first time in their history.

Hernan Dario Gomez’s men looked set to miss out on even an intercontinental play-off spot as they were level 1-1 with Costa Rica in Panama City, the hosts having equalized as Gabriel Torres’ close-range effort cancelled out Johan Venegas’ opener for Costa Rica.

But, three minutes from time, Roman Torres sent Estadio Rommel Fernandez into delirium, the defender bursting on to a header forward and lashing the ball home to make history for Panama at the expense of USA, who lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago.

Panama progress to the finals, while Honduras’ victory sends them into a play-off with Australia, and president Juan Carlos Varela has elected to let the country celebrate the historic moment for a further 24 hours.

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