Norway 1 Panama 0: Joshua King grabs early winner as England opponents look anything but up for the World Cup

By On June 06, 2018

Norway 1 Panama 0: Joshua King grabs early winner as England opponents look anything but up for the World Cup

By Alec Shilton6th June 2018, 11:31 pmUpdated: 6th June 2018, 11:32 pm

ON this evidence, Gareth Southgate's only concern on June 24 should be his players swerving injury ahead of their Belgium showdown.

The closest that Panama got to doing damage in their final World Cup warm-up came in the form of a string of hacks that stopped Norway adding to an early Joshua King strike.

Norway striker Joshua King celebrates his fourth-minute goal

Keeper Sten Grytebust claimed the assist straight from a goal kick as Bournemouth striker King raced unopposed past static Panamanian defenders to slot in the winner on four minutes in Oslo.

Southgate might claim that any win will do against the Central Americans in 18 days time, but he will watch this and know England should stick a bagful past this lot.

Panama's players raced around chasing balls like their places depended on it, hacking down Norwegians at the first sign of danger.

But it took until the 70-minute mark, by which time they'd bored their opponents into a slumber, to look anything like a side whose attack might just fleetingly trouble England in their second Group G game in Nizhny Novgorod.

Panama's players pose before kick-off: (Up L-R): Gabriel Gomez, Blas Perez, Fidel Escobar, Jaime Penedo and Adolfo Machado (Bottom (L-R): Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Joel Barcenas, Erick Davis and Roman Torres
Panama's Colombian head coach Hernan Dario Gomez during the game in Oslo

Worse still for Panama was the sight of talismanic skipper Gabriel Gomez limping off late on.

Pointing to the top of his leg, he did not look to be in the kind of trouble that would cause him to mi ss his nation's opener against Belgium in 12 days.

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Los Canaleros can't afford to be without Gomez, who directed his troops around as they tried to nullify the likes of impressive Fulham midfielder Stefan Johansen.

The closest the visitors came to scoring in the first half came with their only shot, which Fidel Escobar fired straight down the throat of Gryt ebust.

Panama's Joel Barcenas, right, and Norway's Birger Meling battle for the ball
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Norway scorer Joshua King and Panama's Anibal Godly in action at Ullevaal Stadium

Just the third shot of the game came five minutes after the break when Norway defender Tore Reginiussen saw his close-range header blocked.

A torturous affair livened up when Ismail Diaz's blocked shot fell kindly for Panama Gabriel Torres, who fired just to the left of goal.

Norway should have killed the game when Ola Kamara incredibly blazed over from five yards out. Iver Fossum curled another good chance wide.

Panama have now failed to win in all five pre-World Cup friendlies against European nations, only avoiding defeats with draws against under-strength Wales and Northern Ireland s ides.

If they turn over England, it might just be the biggest World Cup upset of all time.

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QUALIFYING RESULTS

14/11/15 Jamaica A 2-0
18/11/15 Costa Rica H 1-2
26/03/16 Haiti A 0-0
30/03/16 Haiti H 1-0
03/09/16 Jamaica H 2-0
07/09/16 Costa Rica A 1-3
11/11/16 Honduras A 1-0
16/11/16 Mexico H 0-0
24/03/17 Trinidad and Tobago A 0-1
29/03/17 USA H 1-1
09/06/17 Costa Rica A 0-0
14/06/17 Honduras H 2-2
02/09/17 Mexico A 0-1
06/09/17 Trinidad and Tobago H 3-0
07/10/17 USA A 0-4
11/10/17 Costa Rica H 2-1

TOP SCORERS
2 Abdiel Arroyo
2 Roman Torres
2 Luis Tejada
2 Gabriel To rres
2 Blas Perez

MOST APPEARANCES
15 Alberto Quintero
14 Anibal Godoy
14 Armando Cooper

World Cup 2018: England's group opponents Panama bust a move on flight ahead of friendly in NorwaySource: Google News Norway | Netizen 24 Norway

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