Panama goal not just qualification for World Cup but rather to win it.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Samuel Philip Steinbock
Yet to pick up a victory at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Panama will hope to do better at their fourth time of asking.
Even though a draw has previously been their best result at this tournament, in a scoreless stalemate against Korea DPR at Canada 2007, the team are starting to make progress.
Alfredo Poyatos' side finished fourth at this year's CONCACAF U-20 Championship after losing a penalty shootout 7-6 to hosts Guatemala following a 0-0 draw. Prior to that, Los Canaleros were on the wrong end of a 4-1 semi-final defeat to eventual champions Mexico.
Despite losing three of their five games in Guatemala, the tournament was still a success for the Panamanians, who won their all-important quarter-final to book a place in Colombia.
They opened their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory over Suriname and despite losing 2-0 to the USA, they still qualified for the quarter finals. There they met Honduras and proved that they had what it takes to win by seeing them off with a 2-0 victory.
After the tournament, the coach signified his team’s intentions for Colombia by saying: "our goal was not just to qualify for the World Cup in Colombia - we want to become champions at U-20 level."