Focus on our Rivals: Honduras

Qualification: 3rd place in CONCACAF 4th Round FIFA Ranking: 34 Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda (2007-) Most Capped Player: Amado Guevara 133 (1994-) Top Goalscorer: Carlos Pavon 57 (1993-)

Star Players: Wilson Palacios (Tottenham, Eng) & David Suazo (Genoa, Ita).

The Players: Honduras is Chile’s first opponents in Group H. The match is the first of the day on Wednesday at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Honduras is believed to be one of the weaker teams at the World Cup. This is mainly because of the difficulty of their qualification round and for their lack of quality players. They have two that are good, Palacios and Suazo, the first could be good enough to be a starter in Chile’s team. David Suazo was very good two seasons ago, when playing in Italian Club Cagliari, then he got less minutes when bought by Italian club Inter. Palacios plays for English Top-4 club Tottenham, where he is a regular starter as a defensive midfielder. Palacios became famous when he played for Wigan, a Honduran colony in Britain that ended their Premier League season at 16th place. Today, Maynor Figueroa and Hendry Thomas play as starters in Wigan. However, Wigan’s season has been less than good and they ended the season with a remarkable 0-8 defeat against Champions Chelsea. Midfielder Edgar Alvarez played almost every game for his Italian Club Bari this season, and can be considered to be a threat of quality. Julio Cesar de Leon is another Italian based player next to Alvarez and Suazo, however he plays for Torino in the Serie B and only as a starter in one third of the league games. The rest of the players are based on the Honduran league, which is maybe Top-5 in the CONCACAF.

How They Got Here: As a National team, Honduras qualified in a group consisting of Caribbean, Central- and North American teams. They were ranked in the second group together with Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, but after Mexico, U.S.A and Costa Rica. They entered the third round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualification by beating Puerto Rico by a total of 6-2 in the second round. In the third round they ended first in their group leaving Mexico, Jamaica and Canada behind. In the fourth round, they ended third and direct qualified to the World Cup, after U.S.A and Mexico but at the same point as Costa Rica, who were forced to play against Uruguay in the final play-off to the World Cup.

Form: Chile played against Honduras in an International friendly back in January 2009, when they were defeated by 2-0 in Honduras. One year later, Honduras beat U.S.A with 3-1 in a friendly, besides these two results, there are mainly losses and draws for the Central American team. In their last game, Honduras lost to Romania with 3-0 in a game where D. Suazo and W. Palacios became injured.

Our Chances of Beating You: Chile’s chances against Honduras are by my opinion great. This is the first game and both teams have a strong companionship due to having a consistent team. Chile has much hunger to show their people that they can do well in a World Cup. Honduras is just happy to have made it here. Chile plays a varied football, where European physique meets South American technique. Chile has a young team that are used to tournaments as they have played several Under 20 World Championships. Honduras strength lies in their effectiveness; they know that they must score if they are given a chance. Chile will win because they have 9 starting players that are better. We are hungry, let them come and meet our Pitbull Gary Medel.

My Prediction: Chile – Honduras 4-1

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