CONCACAF’s elite may have only just started the qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup, but Mexico can already take a commanding lead when it visits Panama on Wednesday.
El Tri has eked out a two-point lead at the top of the standings after just two matches and could close the international break five points in front of the competition if all goes to plan.
How to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 8
Time: 8:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Rommel Fernández Gutiérrez, Panama City, Panama
TV: Telemundo (KWWE-LD (D3) Lake Charles, LA)
Live Stream: You can stream the match on fuboTV: Start with a 7-day free trial!
But Los Canaleros have big dreams of their own and could climb to the top of the standings if they can secure their first win in this fixture since May 2013.
Panama has lost nine of its 10 meetings with Mexico since clinching back-to-back victories in that year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup (in the United States), but its last win on home soil was all the way back in 1980.
It may help the host’s chances that Mexico manager Gerardo Martino won’t be in the dugout after successfully undergoing eye surgery. Assistant Jorge Theiler will step up in his place:
El Tri has yet to drop a point thus far in qualifying and looks worthy of its lead, though neither win over Jamaica or Costa Rica has been particularly comfortable.
An 89th-minute winner courtesy of Henry Martín saw Mexico best Jamaica 2-1, while an Orbelín Pineda penalty was all that separated the team and Costa Rica in Sa's most recent outing.
Panama failed to find that difference-maker in its opening qualifier against Costa Rica, but Thomas Christiansen’s side were emphatic en route to a 3-0 demolition of the Reggae Boyz:
The home side has been on the up since former Leeds United boss Christiansen took over in 2020, losing only four of his 17 matches in charge.
One of those defeats was a 3-0 hammering at Mexico’s hands in July this year, when Martin again came up with a last-minute strike, but this time complementing Diego Lainez and César Montes.
That was the third time in as many meetings that Mexico has managed to put three past Panama, a repeat of which on Wednesday would put it in a pristine position of power.