Brazil defeats Panama; Earns Nation’s First Berth to World Championships

The Brazilian national American football make history on Saturday night in Panama City!

With a impressive win over Panama, 26-14, the Brazil Oncas secured their first berth to the IFAF World Championships, which will be held this year in Canton, Ohio.

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The crowd at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City

This game was directly broadcast from Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City to Brazil on ESPN+ Brasil and streamed live online on A strong local Panamanian crowd turned out on a beautiful evening in the Central American capital.

The first score of the day went to Brazil when quarterback Ramon Martire, the Mamão or ‘Papaya’, found wide receiver Rodrigo Pons. Panama tied the game when one of Martire’s passes was intercepted by linebacker Adrian Flores and returned for an electrifying touchdown.

Later in the second quarter the Oncas regained the lead, when Mamão found tight end Felipe Leiria in the Panamanian end zone.


Brazil had a chance to increase their lead but Martire was intercepted for the second time. On the ensuing drive, Panama put together a strong push going deep into Brazil’s zone but left the field without scoring after risking it on a failed fourth down conversion. Brazil’s had a chance to add a field goal in the final seconds but Raiam dos Santos’ attempt was no good.

Halftime score was 14-7 Brazil.

Panama tied the game in third quarter when they converted another fourth down attempt on their first successful offensive drive of the game. Quarterback Diego Cohen launched a pass to Victor Celis, who had a beautiful reception in the back of the end zone.

On the following possession Brazil’s kicker dos Santos converted on a field goal and broke the tie, 17-14 for the Brazilians.  The kicker added another field goal a few minutes later giving the Oncas a 20-14 advantage.

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Central American champions Team Panama fought hard

The Panamanians pushed to close the gap but QB Cohen was intercepted by star Brazil safety Cleverson Freitas.

After the interception, running back Bruno Santucci broke loose for a touchdown and opened the Onca’s lead to 26-14 – the team tried the two-point conversion, but failed.

With time running out, the Panamanians took to the air, but Brazilian defense came up with another interception and assured the Brazilian triumph.

Fulltime score 26-14.

The Brazilian national team win the IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl and earn a berth in the 2015 IFAF World Championships to be held in Canton, Ohio this summer.

Economic issues had almost derailed the South American squad trip to Panama, but ultimately the Oncas managed the adversity and triumphed to make American football history for their country and become the first men’s squad to qualify for the finals of a global event organized by the IFAF (International Federation of American Football).

Brazil Headed to the ‘Mundial’!

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.