After qualifying for the World Cup by finishing third in CONCACAF, Honduras has more than a puncher’s chance to get out of the first round. They are a talented team with a good amount of top-level experience. Luis Fernando Suarez’s team has some battle tested players with the confidence to make life difficult for their three first round opponents.
Roger Espinoza and Maynor Figueroa won last year’s FA Cup Final against behemoths Manchester City. Emilio Izaguirre has been a mainstay for Glasgow Celtic and has seen many of the stars of this year’s World Cup during his successive campaigns in the Champion’s League with the Scottish Champions. Expect Izzaguire and Figueroa to anchor a solid and stifling defensive line. In the midfield, along with Espinoza we can count Wilson Palacios to be the facilitator in the center of the midfield.
Espinoza with his tireless energy and Palacios with his tough-minded defensive game should set the pace for this Los Catrachos.
This is the third appearance at the finals for Honduras. They have yet to win a game in the finals but this time around, have received a draw that could potentially see them win a game and quite possibly advance out of the first round for the first time. They open up against France. While France is not the dominant force they were at the turn of the century, they are still considered a top side and are favorites to win the group.
Do not, however, expect Los Catrachos to just roll over and accept defeat. They have the discipline and energy to cause havoc to a French team looking to make up for their embarrassing showing in South Africa four years ago.
Their second opponent is a tough Swiss team. Switzerland are favored over Honduras, but just one slip up could see Honduras grind out a positive result. Switzerland boasts talent from the top leagues in Europe and play well together so expect Honduras to lean on their defensive stinginess to try and eek out a win on the counter. Honduras plays Ecuador in their final round one game. With France and Switzerland also playing their final games of the round against each other this could be the time for Honduras to go all out and sneak into the final sixteen.
If France dominates the group and wins all its games, then the second team to advance may only need four points. With their ability to play tough defense, don’t be surprised to see Honduras advance on goal differential if there is a tie for second.
Whatever happens, Honduras is not a team to be underestimated.
Written by Andrew Kearney