Panama debut with tough Burkinabe test

In the second match in Group E, underdogs Panama are hoping to upset Burkina Faso, who are reigning African champions and are contesting the FIFA U-17 World Cup for their fourth time. With Germany and Ecuador completing the section line-up, both teams will be eager to emerge from the first match with a good result.

The game
Burkina Faso-Panama, Monday 20 June, Queretaro, 18.00 (local time)

The stakes
Ahead of the first-ever meeting between these two nations, the roles and expectations are clearly defined. Burkina Faso, appearing at the FIFA U-17 World Cup as African champions for the first time, face the juniors from Panama, who are making their debut at the world finals in Mexico. However, the Panamanians overcame notable rivals such as Costa Rica en route to the tournament, finishing the qualifying competition third thanks to a 1-0 victory over hosts Jamaica. “This is a great moment for Panama," coach Dely Valdes said after the historic win.

For their part, Burkina Faso will the brimming with confidence in the light of their results at the last African championship, where the Young Stallions competently dealt with Senegal, Egypt, Congo and hosts Rwanda. With the first continental title in their history under their belts, the team coached by Rui Pereira rate as an interesting outside bet here in Mexico.

The stat
3
– Third place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2001 is Burkina Faso's best-ever finish at a FIFA tournament to date.

The words
“It promises to be an exceptionally tough tournament, but we’re still hoping for a place in the quarter-finals, and maybe even the semi-finals. That would be a tremendous performance," Burkina Faso coach Rui Pereira.

"It's our first World Cup at this age level. In previous qualifying competitions, Panama haven't even made it through to the second round. We've done it this time, but it means we’re entering completely new territory. We reached the preliminary rounds and got through, and now we're on the world stage. We’ll try and do as well as we can and obviously go as far as possible, although we’ll be taking it one step at a time," Panama coach Jorge Dely Valdes.