Don’t expect much from Honduras
On paper, Honduras look like providing the least excitement of any side at this World Cup – but then people probably said that about Greece in Euro 2004, didn’t they?
The pessimism is fuelled by three factors. Firstly, they have few big names in the ranks. Wilson Palacios is the star man, of course – but then he is a fitness doubt.
Secondly, they don’t look like a particularly good side overall – they scraped through a poor qualification section ahead of Costa Rica on goal difference. Their pre-tournament friendlies make them out to be even worse – draws against Belarus and Azerbaijan, and a 0-3 thrashing to Romania.
Thirdly, they don’t look like doing anything tactically interesting. Over the past two years they’ve followed the most basic pattern of formation – 4-4-2 at home, 4-5-1 away.
Attack down the flanks
It is presumably the second of those that will be showcased in South Africa, since Honduras will have to endure long periods without the ball. The use of an extra central midfielder may give the wide players more license to get forward, which can only be a positive thing since the majority of Honduras’ attacks come down the flanks.
Various wingers have been used in the recent friendlies, but Ramon Nunez and Edgar Alvarez seem to have made the biggest impression – they can both play on either flank. Ahead of them will be Serie A veteran David Suazo, who is a calm, reliable finisher.
The composition of the midfield remains to be seen. Palacios will clearly start if fit, and play a slightly more dynamic role than he does for Tottenham, because he is partnered by the steady veteran Amado Guevara – the captain and record caps holder for Honduras, who made his international début as long ago as 1994. The final midfielder could be Wigan’s Hendry Thomas, but will hopefully be the more attacking choice in Julio de Leon, a small playmaker who has shown flashes of brilliance in Serie A (especially from free-kicks) but after disciplinary problems throughout Reinaldo Ruedo’s spell as manager, he sees less playing time than his ability merits.
At the back, it’s as you would expect. Another Wigan player, Maynor Figueroa will be at left-back, with converted midfielder Sergio Mendoza appearing to be the likely starter at right-back. In the centre will be Victor Bernandez of Anderlecht, and Emilio Izaguirre, who would prefer Figueroa’s left-sided position, and at 5′9 looks vulnerable in the air.
400/1 seems quite poor odds for Honduras to win the World Cup – even if they manage to finish second in the group, they’ll then probably face Brazil and Holland.
In fairness, Palacios, Leon and Suazo are all good players, but they seem to struggle for creativity, and play too defensively for a side that is not blessed with much talent at the back.Don’t expect much from Honduras