Mumble mumble, Noriega’s Revenge. Mumble mumble, karma. Mumble mumble, Panamanians will be tipping their ‘hat’ to the referee.
Whatever way you want to frame this, Panama’s first ‘goal’ against Costa Rica was an absolute travesty. Needing a draw or better against the Ticos in order to progress to – and consequently eliminate USA from – the World Cup, this happened with Panama 0-1 down early in the second half:
The US ended up losing 2-1 to world footballing superpower Trinidad & Tobago, while Panama went on to conquer Costa Rica by the same score and will contest their first World Cup in Russia in 2018. Great news for them, but if that incident isn’t one of the most convincing arguments in favour of VAR, we don’t know what is.