USMNT vs Panama live updates

USMNT vs Panama live updates

Thomas Christiansen was born in Denmark but moved to Spain as a teenager — the country where his mother was born. He joined Barcelona aged 18 in 1991, when Johan Cruyff was midway through his ‘Dream Team’ period as manager — which brought four successive La Liga titles between 1991 and 1994 as well as the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

A centre-forward in his playing days, Christiansen only featured twice for Barca’s first team but he did represent Spain internationally, winning two caps.

Now 51, he was a surprise hire for Panama in 2020 after spells at Union Saint-Gilloise (2019-20) in Belgium and Leeds United (2017-18) in the English Championship, where he was dismissed after half a season in charge. Some saw his Panama team failing to secure qualification for the 2022 World Cup as regression, given the nation had made the 2018 finals, but over time the positives have grown.

Influenced by his formative years with Barcelona, Christiansen’s Panama have developed into a ball-dominant team incorporating positional play from a 3-4-3 formation. But they have also added substance to that style.

On the way to reaching the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, they beat Qatar 4-0 and knocked out a weakened United States team on penalties. They missed out on the trophy after a 1-0 defeat by Mexico, but finishing fourth in the 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League was also seen as a good achievement.

“Imagine how advanced and how different (Cruyff) saw football,” Christiansen told The Athletic in March. “With time and with all that knowledge, you understand what he was looking for. That’s the type of methodology that we want to implement with Panama.

“We know that this is going to be a long process. There will be good and bad moments. Right now, we’re enjoying the good moments.”

Related Articles