Prior to their first-ever meeting at any level, Germany and Panama are approaching the final round of Group E fixtures at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 from significantly different positions. The Europeans are already through to the last 16, but Panama require at least a draw to keep alive their hopes of the next round.
Steffen Freund's Germany side have fully lived up to their top billing so far with two comfortable victories, nine goals for, and only one against. Due to their commanding goal difference, the Europeans could even afford a narrow defeat and still finish top of the section. However, Germany will doubtless wish to avoid a dent to their soaring confidence ahead of the knockout stages, and will be looking to complete their group fixtures with maximum points.
Panama find themselves in a much less comfortable position. Following a remarkable 1-0 opening-day victory over Burkina Faso, the tournament newcomers fell 2-1 to Ecuador, and now require at least a point to keep alive their hopes of the next round, although even that would leave them dependent on the result in the parallel fixture.
13 - The Germany U-17 side has scored at least once in all their last 13 matches, with their average goals-per-game currently running at three.
"I saw Panama against Burkina Faso, so I know just how strong they are. Panama show lots of heart and passion, and they’re technically very good. I've noticed just how much is going on there, and the way their junior teams are steadily getting stronger. Just look at their senior team making the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and their team’s performance here at the U-17 World Cup, and there’s no way you can say Panama are still footballing minnows," Germany coach Steffen Freund.
"Germany have a few very good players. They’re extremely quick and they attack you in numbers. They know all about playing football. It's going to be very difficult for us, but we’ll try and give it everything. Germany have come here to win the tournament, which tells you all you need to know. But they're not invincible, and we’ll try and take our chances," Panama coach Jorge Dely Valdes.