Panama 'ghost goal' helps eliminate United States of America from 2018 Russia World Cup

Panama 'ghost goal' helps eliminate United States of America from 2018 Russia World Cup

Panama 'ghost goal' helps eliminate United States of America from 2018 Russia World Cup

USA's shock 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, coupled with Panama's 88th minute victor from Roman Torres to beat Costa Rica, meant the team from Central America finished third in the North/Central American qualifying and have booked their place in Russian Federation. "We are going to Russian Federation 2018!"

The atmosphere at the end of Panama's 2-1 win over Costa Rica in the Estadio Rommel Fernández on Tuesday night epitomises passion within football - as the home nation qualified for their first ever World Cup finals.

However, there has been some dispute over whether the team's first goal crossed the line.

One goal down against Costa Rica, underdogs Panama scored a scrappy and controversial goal to equalise and that misery was compounded by some sensational time wasting late in the game after Panama had edged ahead with minutes remaining.

In what can only be described as a commotion in the box in the build up to the goal; the ball bounced off Gabriel Torres' rear end from a corner and struck the inside of the far post before being met by the falling Blas Perez's shoulder - only to rest on the line and be cleared away. As Costa Rica pour forward you sense your chance.

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Instead, what actually happened was that United States of America finished in third after a limp performance in their final fixture, Honduras took the play-off spot, and Panama joined Mexico and Costa Rica in Russian Federation.

Had Panama drawn against Costa Rica instead, it would have left them on 11 points and meant they missed out on the World Cup instead of the Stars and Stripes.

Australia will now play Honduras in an intercontinental playoff next month while the USA will miss the World Cup altogether after going down to Trinidad and Tobago.

Goal-line technology, which is not available to CONCACAF competitions as of yet, would have proved that it wasn't a goal easily.

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