Panama’s Jose Luis Rodriguez, center, fights for the ball against Curacao’s Vurnon Anita, left, and Jurien Gaari, during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, in Panama City, Saturday, June, 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
- Guest team Qatar meets a solid Panamanian side in Houston at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday
- World Cup 2022 host Qatar is are taking part as build-up schedule ahead of 2022 showpiece
- See the odds, best bets and predictions for Qatar vs Panama in the Gold Cup Group D Matchday 1
Qatar meets Panama when it kicks off its Gold Cup Group D campaign in Houston on Tuesday.
Host of next year’s World Cup, Qatar is a special invitee to the competition which is being staged for the 16th time.
A close contest could be in store. There were wins for Qatar in all three of its most recent World Cup qualifying games while it conceded only one goal along the way.
Qatar vs Panama Odds
|Qatar vs Panama||QAT -1 (+285) | PAN +1 (-385)||QAT +123 | PAN +225 | DRAW +215||Ov 2.5 (+148) | Un 2.5 (-186)|
Odds as of July 13 at DraftKings
Meanwhile, Panama has not been defeated in a competitive fixture since November 2019.
It did, however, lose its last friendly 3-0 against Mexico, which is the current Gold Cup reigning champion.
At Draftkings, Qatar is the favorite for a win at +123 with the Panamanians at +225. The draw is priced at +215 with kick-off at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Texas at 7:00 pm ET.
This is the first meeting between these two nations. The other teams in the group are Grenada and Honduras.
Qatar Unbeaten in Eight Games
And, certainly, the Qatari head into the fixture in good form amid an eight-match unbeaten run – and with four straight wins in their most recent four outings.
Its 23-man squad is, moreover, made up exclusively of players who are with clubs in the domestic Qatar Stars League.
The team was the winner of the Asian Cup in 2019.
Almoez Ali looks to lead the way for 🇶🇦 Qatar in their #GoldCup21 debut! The forward has been in prolific form 🤩#GoldCup21 #ThisIsOurs pic.twitter.com/5EOPjeMw3F
— Gold Cup (@GoldCup) July 13, 2021
Furthermore, it has also recently won its qualifying group for the 2023 edition of the Asian Cup with a record seven wins in eight matches.
Among its current undefeated run of games, there has been an impressive 3-1 triumph against Croatia’s B team last month and a 1-1 draw at home against the Republic of Ireland in March.
Midfielder Hassan-Al Aydos has hit 31 goals in 140 internationals for his country.
Significantly, its squad includes no fewer than 12 players from the Al Sadd club in the Qatari homeland.
These include the 30-year-old attacking midfielder Hassan-Al Aydos who has hit 31 goals in 140 internationals for his country.
The lineup also includes impressive stalwarts such as the 24-year-old forward Akram Afif of the Al Sadd club. He has hit 19 goals in 64 internationals.
Another notable player, meanwhile, is the 30-year-old French-born midfielder Karim Boudiaf who has scored five times while earning 90 caps. He plays for the Qatari team Al Duhail.
The Nashville SC central midfielder has been ruled out by Panama to play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, after suffering a hamstring injury in training. https://t.co/Irf5IVmW6s
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) July 8, 2021
And forward Almoez Ali has scored 30 times in 62 appearances for the side.
The current run of success has been masterminded by the team’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez – a former Barcelona B team staff member who has been in charge since 2017.
2021 MLS Cup Odds Tracker
Busy Schedule Ahead of World Cup
With attention to preparations for next year’s World Cup for which it qualifies automatically, Qatar is currently involved in a heavy schedule of fixtures.
It was, to that end, due to compete at the recently completed Copa America in South America before COVID-19 delays caused a change of plans.
Following the defeat of the Croatian B side, Qatar’s most recent fixture delivered a 1-0 victory in El Salvador.
Its two most recent competitive matches came in the World Cup in June – with 1-0 away wins recorded against India and Oman.
Qatar will be in Group D in the 2021 Gold Cup alongside with Honduras, Panama and Grenada.
All the Crimsons matches in the group stage will be held at BBVA Stadium, Houston, Texas. pic.twitter.com/NGZsskNRUq
— Asian Football (@AsianFootballs) July 7, 2021
Meanwhile, Panama was beaten 3-0 by the Mexicans in its warm-up match for the Gold Cup at the beginning of July.
Thomas Christiansen, a Danish-born Spaniard who briefly managed Leeds United in England is the team coach and has been in charge since July 2020.
He has built a unit that is strong in defense and midfield but is in a rebuilding process.
The nation made its first-ever appearance at the World Cup in 2018 although several new players have since entered the squad.
Among its current notable performers, the full-back Amir Murillo is among the quickest attacking raiders in the tournament.
Prior to the Mexican defeat, it had defeated Curacao 2-1 at home in its World Cup qualifying tournament in June – with a 0-0 draw when the teams subsequently met again later in the month.
With just over three days to go until they step out in Houston, Texas, for their Gold Cup 2021 debut against Panama, Qatar’s players were put through their paces in their training session at Holloway field. https://t.co/pSdQmR7rYY
— Gulf-Times (@GulfTimes_QATAR) July 9, 2021
That followed four straight wins on the qualifying group first stage earlier this year which included a 13-0 win against Anguilla.
The Panamanians, furthermore, also held Serbia to a 0-0 draw at home in a friendly last January. It was, however, beaten 6-2 in a friendly by the USA last November.
Led by Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, the Maroons have come a long way in recent years. They will head into the World Cup as continental champions after lifting the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2019. https://t.co/HxsEMnKRou
— Gulf-Times (@GulfTimes_QATAR) July 12, 2021
The last competitive setback was a 3-0 defeat by Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League 21 months ago.
Given that record in competitive games, it seems, in conclusion, that a draw is the most likely outcome here against an equally impressive Qatari line-up.
Pick: Draw +215