NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Despite a 6-1 loss to England on Sunday, Panama coach Hernan Gomez praised Felipe Baloy for scoring the Central American country's first goal in its debut World Cup. Gomez told reporters during the post-match press conference that as a debutant at the World Cup, Panamanians have already accomplished their first target and really enjoyed it. The coach said he "felt very moved" when Baloy, the 37-year-old substitute, scored the goal in the 78th minute. "He's a player who will be retiring from the national team and God gave him the opportunity to score that goal because of the way he conducts himself in football and he's such a professional," the Panama coach said. Regarding the match against England, Gomez thought the result shows the gap between the two teams. The Colombian tactician expressed his worries before the match, saying that "it's going to be our hardest match by far". Unfortunately, the 62-year-old coach's words came true. "We tried to play against England, but there was a huge difference between two teams. We conceded five goals in the first half including two penalties," he told the press at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
However, Gomez praised his men for their performance in the second half. "What we did is trying to avoid a big catastrophe. We managed to keep the ball in the second half a little bit more and play in a more orderly fashion. If had we not done it wouldn't be six goals but far more." On the performance of England, Gomez paid a compliment. He said he even went to Gareth Southgate, the England head coach, to congratulated him in the interval. "England is totally spectacular and a beautiful team," he said. "I've had to play against two spectacular opponents, Belgium and England. But that's absolutely fantastic because that's how you learn and draw conclusions." Gomez also said, as a World Cup newcomer, Panama learned a lot in Russia and the team need to make huge improvements from all aspects after the tournament. Xinhua