The Full 90

2010 World Cup Preview: Honduras

To get you ready for the drama that will start unfolding on June 11 in South Africa, The Star and The Full 90 will introduce you to the teams, the key performers, what to look for and what to expect in this year's Cup.We've reached the end of our journey, finally diving into the Group of Who The Hell Knows Who's Finishing Second. Why not Honduras?

Honduras

Group H THE BASICS

Nickname:

Los Catrachos (What other Central Americans call Hondurans)



Colors:

Blue and White



FIFA Ranking:

38



How They Got Here:

Finished behind the United States and Mexico in CONCACAF qualifying.



World Cup Pedigree:

1 World Cup ('82), failed to win a game

THE PLOT

Can a team that needed the help of Jonathan Bornstein (of all people!) just to get to the World Cup do any real damage in a group that seems as if it were designed just for them to fail?

THE DIRECTOR

Reinaldo Rueda

Rueda is a strict disciplinarian coaching in his first World Cup. (His last attempt, with Colombia, fell short in 2006.)

LEADING MAN

Wilson Palacios

The sturdy and powerful Tottenham midfielder had an excellent season in Europe, and is easily the most Internationally cultured Honduran on this squad. He's a ball winner and is known for his fearless attitude. His one drawback? He doesn't have a great shot.

SUPPORTING CAST

David Suazo

(forward, Inter Milan) is a deadly striker for his country who doesn't get enough time on the pitch for his club;

Carlos Pavon

(forward, Real Espana - Honduras) was the surprising scoring leader in CONCACAF qualifying, surprising because he's prone to missing chances;

Amado Guevara

(midfielder, Motagua - Honduras) is the team's captain and, until this year, played for the MLS in Toronto;

Julio Ceasar de Leon

(midfielder, Torino) is nicknamed "Rambo";

Maynor Figueroa

(left back, Wigan) is the team's best defender and must stay on the field for the team to have any chance of preventing goals.

LIKELY BREAKOUT STAR

Roger Espinoza

Like I was going to pick anyone else on this team? Espinoza was having a very solid season for the Wizards after being moved from midfield to left back. It appears he'll be a substitute for now and will be in the midfield mostly. He'll find his way onto the field and he'll do something good. Promise.

THE LIKELY VILLAIN

Pavon PRODUCTION NOTES

This team will try and play attractive attacking football, usually in a 4-4-2.

WHAT THEY'LL WEAR

IT'S SORTA LIKE...

"The Matrix Reloaded"

Should be a lot better than it is, sometimes is a lot better than it looks ... but often makes you wish you were watching something different.

TRAILER

DO WHAT YOU WILL WITH THIS...

You've heard the phrase "banana republic" right? Honduras is actually a literal banana republic, due in part to its massive exporting of the fruit.

CRITICAL BLURBS

Honduras can be a very dangerous team, or they could completely not show up. ... Are the one lower-tier team (Slovenia, North Korea, Greece, New Zealand) that can score goals. Unfortunately, the defense isn't quite as solid as the others. ... The team will go only as far as Palacios and Suazo can take them. They will sorely miss Carlos Costly, who will miss the Cup with an injury. ... Chile is a physical team, Switzerland is a tightly organized team and Honduras is a free-flowing attacking team. This will be the best test of which approach works best, as any of those three teams could finish second in this group. ...

Best-case scenario?

They won't beat Spain, but Chile and Switzerland are there for the taking. That's as good as they can hope for. ...

Realistic prediction?

Finishing third in the group ahead of Chile.

POSSIBLE HOLLYWOOD MOMENT

Just being here should be enough for Honduras. After all, they were lucky to just qualify. But that's not going to be enough for a team that has a lot of culture and European experience. For them, the Hollywood moment would come on the last day of group play. Against Switzerland. With both teams sitting on a win and a loss (both beating Chile, losing to Spain), this game will decide second place. It's a tight, slightly boring game. Honduras' attack has been met and resisted time and time again by the Swiss. But, with about 15 minutes to go, Palacios wins the ball in midfield, swings a smart cross up and over the Swiss defense onto the foot of Pavon. Pavon flings a wild cross into the area where trailing midfielder Guevara rises to meet the ball with his head, slamming it past the keeper. One moment of sheer brilliance in a 90-minute game, which just about perfectly sums up the Honduran experience. (As an added bonus, it provides the nation it's greatest soccer moment ever that actually involved their team.)


Group A: South Africa

,

Uruguay

,

Mexico

,

France

Group B: South Korea

,

Greece

,

Nigeria

,

Argentina

Group C: Algeria

,

Slovenia

,

USA

,

England

Group D: Serbia

,

Australia

,

Ghana

,

Germany

Group E: Japan

,

Cameroon

,

Denmark

,

Netherlands

Group F: New Zealand

,

Slovakia

,

Paraguay

,

Italy

Group G: North Korea

,

Ivory Coast

,

Portugal

,

Brazil

Group H:

Honduras, Chile, Switzerland, Spain


Sources: World Cup 2010 (by Steven D. Stark and Harrison Stark); ESPN and Soccernet.com; FIFA; CIA Factbook
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