The current crop
Panama, having never qualified for a FIFA World Cup, gained notice for a strong performance in January’s Copa Centroamericana (Central America's cup of nations) - particularly for a strong defensive performance that saw just one goal get through in five games on a run to the semi-finals. That performance was merely prelude to bigger things still as the Canaleros beat the mighty USA in the group stages of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup en route to a glorious run to the semi-finals of the tournament in which they finished runners-up in 1995.
The key players
Captaining the Panamanians is Felipe Baloy. Strong and burly, he is credited as one of the best defenders in the side and was crucial to Panama's 2005 Gold Cup second-place finish and their heroics in the same tournament’s latest instalment. In midfield, Armando Cooper brings fresh talent to the squad. Contrasting Cooper's lively youth and inexperience is veteran striker Luis Tejada, who is best known for scoring an equaliser against Mexico in the final round of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying and playing a crucial role in the famous win over USA in 2011's Gold Cup.
Current coach: Julio Dely Valdes
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Luis Ernesto Tapia, Jorge Luis Dely Valdes, Julio Dely Valdes