Being someone who loves a World Cup underdog (and goalkeepers of World Cup underdogs) there was no better story of qualification for Russia 2018 than that of Panama and Jaime Penedo.
Panama had never qualified for a World Cup finals before and Penedo had played for almost a decade, fearing it would never happen. And then, an unlikely series of results in the finals rounds of CONCACAF qualification saw Panama reach Russia 2018. Pandamonium followed on the streets of Panama City.
Penedo now plays his football for Dinamo Bucharest in Romania. I caught up with him one weekend and interviewed him about this incredible achievement for Tifo, which you can read here.
You can also hear more of that interview on the BBC World Service’s World Football. Also on that show you can hear my story about the wildest league in European football right now: the Romanian fourth division. Really!