One of the most intriguing aspects of the World Cup is seeing how different nations interpret success on the game’s biggest stage.
On one end you have teams like England, with all the pressure to make a run at a championship and a devastating history of underachieving. These teams are not only expected to win, they are expected to be flawless in victory and anything less is an embarrassment.
And then there’s a team like Panama, which had never even qualified for the tournament before 2018. Success, in many ways, is just being at the event. And still, the country’s hopes and excitement can only go up.
Which is why in a match between the two nations, a 6-1 trouncing by England, the most meaningful play was one that hardly mattered.
Check out how fans in Panama and in the stadium celebrated their first-ever World Cup goal despite still being down by five goals.
What a moment for Panama!
Panama fans around the world celebrated with all their hearts after their first EVER FIFA World Cup goal. pic.twitter.com/iwjD9kGwmL
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 24, 2018
It’s safe to say goal-scorer Felipe Baloy will be receiving plenty of free drinks when he returns home.
Now contrast that with the feeling of utter relief as England barely escaped with a victory over Tunisia just days ago.
The expectations for each nation aside, it’s truly awesome to see just how much getting to this stage means for the small country in Central America. And sure, the beatdown by England only further illustrates just how embarrassing the United States missing the tournament is, but moments like these are what make even mundane games worth watching.
Panama lost the match but it definitely won the party. Should it feel humiliated by a 6-1 loss at the World Cup? Maybe. It’s not quite the 7-1 Germany win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semifinal, so it’s hard to really feel like there is anything to be ashamed of.
Getting to the World Cup is worth celebrating. Scoring at the World Cup is worth celebrating. Apologizing for having fun on this stage is certainly not something a nation should even consider.
Keep enjoying the moment, Panama.
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More World Cup on Yahoo Sports:
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• English fan receives five-year ban for Nazi salute in Russia
• Report: FIFA knew of Russian doping, did nothing
• Why Swiss goal celebrations were both political, provocatic