March 27, 2018 / 7:20 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer-Ragged Panama given lesson by slick Swiss

LUCERNE, Switzerland, March 27 (Reuters) - World Cup debutants Panama were given a timely footballing lesson by a slick Switzerland side as they were thumped 6-0 in a friendly on Tuesday.

The Swiss, using the game as a dress rehearsal for their World Cup group stage match against Costa Rica, scored four times in a 17-minute first half period before adding two more in the second half.

Panama, who face England, Belgium and Tunisia in their group at the tournament in Russia, were beaten 1-0 by Denmark in the first match of their European trip last Thursday but found the ruthless Swiss a different proposition.

The Central Americans, who finished above the United States in the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers to reach their first ever World Cup, struggled to get out of their half for the opening 20 minutes and collapsed dramatically after falling behind.

Blerim Dzemaili exchanged passes with Mario Gavranovic before slotting the ball past Jaime Penedo to open the scoring in the 22nd minute and won a penalty for Granit Xhaka to score the second nine minutes later.

Panama were in further disarray when Nico Elvedi sent a long diagonal ball down the middle of the field, Gabriel Gomez failed to cut it out and Breel Embolo broke clear to dink the ball over Penedo in the 33rd minute.

Steven Zuber added the fourth in the 39th as Panama were again sliced open.

Panama showed signs of an improvement after halftime, creating a few openings and enjoying spells of possession. However, Gavranovic and Fabian Frei added further goals for the hosts, who also face Brazil and Serbia in their group. (Writing by Brian Homewood Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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