Belfast Telegraph

Watch: How a ball boy and a ghost goal helped Panama into the World Cup finals

It's their first ever spot at the World Cup - and what a way to get it

By Gareth Hanna

Panama qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time ever last night in what must be one of the most Twitter-friendly matches of all time.

The 2-1 win over Costa Rica, care of an 88th minute winner, featured not one, but two videos that have already proved social media gold. Well, everywhere but in the USA, as they were the ones that missed out on qualification because of Panama's success.

There was more than a hint of controversy about the first viral video. Costa Rica had led 1-0 before the referee then awarded Panama a 52nd minute equaliser, despite the fact that the ball never seemed to actually cross the goal-line. Have a look yourself:

As if that wasn't pleasing enough for the Twitter-ati, then came a Panamese ball-boy's world record sprint and delicious punt to halt Costa Rican attempts at a last gasp equaliser that would have spoiled Panama's qualification chances. He gives the player a good 15 yard head start and still gets to stick the laces through this. Here it is:

Let's all be honest, if this all happened to send Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland to the World Cup finals - we'd have absolutely loved it.

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