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Thread: Honduras

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    Honduras

    Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez has announced his 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

    Suarez has included six British-based players in his list for next month's tournament in Brazil, with Hull defender Maynor Figueroa, Stoke midfielder Wilson Palacios, Wigan duo Roger Espinoza and Juan Carlos Garcia, plus Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre and Rangers midfielder Arnold Peralta all selected.

    Suarez said: "I ask the ones who have not been called up to understand. A lot of players were part of this process, but only 23 can be called. I cannot keep everybody satisfied."

    Twenty-year-old Luis Lopez, meanwhile, pipped a number of prospective rivals to earn himself one of the three goalkeeping berths in the squad thanks to his good form for Real Espana this season.

    "This (domestic) league has had good keepers such as Yul Arzu, John Bodden, Jose Mendoza....Luis has enormous potential and soon will replace Noel Valladares," added Suarez at a press conference in Tegucigalpa.

    Honduras travel to the United States next Monday to play three warm-up friendlies ahead of the World Cup.

    The will face Turkey in Washington on 29 May before meeting Israel in Houston on 1 June. Six days later they face England in Miami before heading to Brazil, where they will meet France, Ecuador and Switzerland in Group E.

    Honduras squad
    Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares, Donis Escober (both Olimpia), Luis Lopez (Real Espana)

    Defenders: Brayan Beckeles (Olimpia), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic/Scotland), Juan Carlos Garcia (Wigan/England), Maynor Figueroa (Hull City/England), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes/USA), Osman Chavez (Qingdao Janoon/China PR), Juan Pablo Montes (Motagua)

    Midfielders: Arnold Peralta (Rangers/Scotland), Luis Garrido (Olimpia), Roger Espinoza (Wigan/England), Jorge Claros (Motagua), Wilson Palacios (Stoke/England), Oscar Garcia (Houston Dynamo/USA), Andy Najar (Anderlecht/Belgium), Mario Martinez (Real Espana), Marvin Chavez (Colorado Rapids/USA)

    Forwards: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution/USA), Jerry Palacios (Alajuelense/Costa Rica), Carlo Costly (Real Espana), Rony Martinez (Real Sociedad/Spain)


    * Squad lists are only official once they have been confirmed and published by FIFA on 16 May at 12:00 CET.

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    Honduras stumble in World Cup warm-up

    Mevlut Erdinc scored one goal and set up another as Turkey defeated Brazil-bound Honduras 2-0 on Thursday in a FIFA World Cup™ warm-up friendly match.

    Erdinc, a striker for French club Saint-Etienne, scored in the 70th minute and made the key pass to Caner Erkin for his 83rd minute tally.

    It was the first in a series of World Cup preparation matches for Honduras, which will open play in Brazil against France on 15 June and also face Ecuador and Switzerland in Group E matches. Los Catrachos also face warm-up matches against Israel on Sunday at Houston and at Miami on 7 June against England.

    Turkey, which failed to qualify for the World Cup, sported a young line-up that lacked injured Arda Turan of UEFA Champions League runner-up Atletico Madrid. They will face the World Cup-bound USA on Sunday in suburban New York.

    Turkey's Ishak Dogan set up the first goal when he faked past Honduran defender Brayan Beckeles and charged in from the right of goalkeeper Noel Valladares, the 37-year-old Honduran captain. Moments later, Erdinc directed a centering pass into the back of the net.

    Turkey added an insurance goal when tightly guarded Erdinc flicking the ball to unmarked Erkin, who charged into the penalty area and blasted home a left-footed shot.

    Missed opportunities for Honduras
    Honduras, bolstered by thousands of loud supporters in the crowd of 20,723 at RFK Stadium, set the early pace but the best chance went lacking when Roger Espinoza of English club Wigan had a blast from the left wing booted away by Turkish teen defender Ozan Tufan.

    Honduras received a scare in the 22nd minute when midfielder Wilson Palacios, who plays for English Premier League side Stoke City, remained crumpled on the pitch after tangling legs with a Turkish defender. Trainers treated his right leg and Palacios rose and went on to remain in the match, his 93rd appearance for the Blue and White.

    Attacking successfully along the wings, the Central Americans struggled to connect on centering efforts. Espinoza missed an open shot in the 39th minute, his left-footed challenge from the right of Turkish goalkeeper Tolga Zengin rolling wide of the far post.

    Jerry Bengtson was offered another solid chance in the 43rd minute but his right-footed strike in stride down the right side missed the near post. Just over nine minutes into the second half, another opportunity went wanting for Honduras when defender Emilio Figueroa nodded a header off a corner into Zengin's arms.

    Turkey's first great scoring chance came in the 58th minute when Erdinc took a centering pass at point blank range and blasted a shot that forced Valladares to make a stunning right-hand save.

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    Israel beats World Cup-bound Honduras

    FIFA World Cup™-bound Honduras suffered a second deflating friendly defeat in four days on Sunday as they were beaten 4-2 by Israel.

    Honduras' defense struggled all night and Israel made the most of the openings they were offered. Eran Zahavi grabbed the first goal for the Israelis, his 30-yard shot sailing past the outstretched hands of Honduras goalkeeper Denis Escobar for a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute.

    Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suarez made four changes at half-time seeking to turn things around. Roger Espinoza woke Los Catrachos with a 47th minute equalizer.

    However, the good work was undone in the 52nd when Tal Ben Haim had an effort on goal that Escobar appeared to have a bead on, only for Honduran second-half substitute Maynor Figueroa to redirect the shot across the line to make it 2-1 Israel. Israel furthered Honduras' misery in the 60th minute and Zahavi was again in the thick of it.

    He again found room in the middle of Honduras' defense again and bounced a shot off the post. Omer Damari was on hand to clean it up and give Israel a 3-1 lead. In the 74th, Figueroa surrendered too much space to Gil Vermouth and the Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder stung the far post to make it 4-1.

    Second half substitute Carlo Costly trimmed the deficit with a header in the 83rd minute, but the Catrachos were unable to gain any more momentum on their pre-World Cup tour.

    Suarez acknowledged on Thursday after a 2-0 friendly loss in Washington to Turkey - who also failed to secure a World Cup berth - that his team had plenty of work to do.

    Honduras' next tune-up promises to offer an even tougher challenge as they take on England at Miami on Saturday.

    The Central American side, seeking a first World Cup victory after qualifying for the third time, open their World Cup finals campaign against France on 15 June, and will also face Ecuador and Switzerland in Group E.

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    Arnold Peralta ruled out of World Cup

    Arnold Peralta's FIFA World Cup™ dream is over after the Honduras midfielder was ruled out of the Brazil finals with a thigh injury.

    The 25-year-old Rangers player had been named in coach Luis Fernando Suarez's 23-man squad for the World Cup which was announced on 6 May but has now been replaced by Real Espana's Edder Delgado.

    Peralta reported for the recent warm-up matches against Turkey and Israel struggling with the leg problem and was not able to feature in either of the fixtures in Washington and Houston.

    Having been unable to prove his fitness in time, Peralta has been omitted from Honduras' squad for the tournament, at which his country will face France, Ecuador and Switzerland.

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    Bengtson: France will see our hunger

    With half an hour remaining, Honduras’s visit to the Azteca Stadium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers was following the script, with Mexico leading 1-0 and seemingly on course for a routine home win. It was then that second-half Catracho substitute Jerry Bengtson took a hand in proceedings, changing the course of the game. “I came on in the second half,” said the man himself, taking up the story for the benefit of FIFA. “I made sure I warmed up really well because I know how difficult it is to play at the Azteca. We were trailing 1-0 when I went on, but in the 63rd minute Carlo Costly had a shot, the ball came back out to me and I put it away to bring us level. It was just what we needed and a few minutes later, Costly scored the winner.”

    Honduras’s surprise comeback victory, which came last September, was made all the more notable by the fact that it was their first-ever away win over El Tri in a World Cup qualifier and only Mexico’s second home defeat in a global finals preliminary, the first coming against Costa Rica in 2001.

    H is for hope
    Bengston’s strike in that historic win, which put them firmly on course for Brazil 2014, provided a perfect illustration of his knack for scoring important goals and being in the right place in the right time. The Hondurans have been smiling ever since their Azteca raid, a feat that was followed soon after by their qualification for Brazil 2014. Delighted to be here, the willowy 27-year-old New England Revolution forward said: “We are here to compete and haven’t come to make the numbers up. We are absolutely determined to do a great job. It’s going be difficult but not impossible.”

    Admitting to nerves on the eve of Honduras’ tournament opener against France in Porto Alegre on Sunday, Bengtson is intent on helping La H make yet more history. “You always get a little uptight, but we’ve played in the group phase before,” he explained. “And in any case, the desire to just get out there and play outweighs any nerves you might feel. I think we’ll be able to handle the occasion without any problem.” Weighing up the task that awaits them against the French, he said: “They’re strong opponents with good players and a great tradition. It’s good to be starting against them. We’re very well prepared for the match and we have faith in God. This squad has got what it takes to achieve big things.”

    Focusing only on the here and now, just as he does on the pitch, Bengtson is resisting the temptation to look to what the future might hold beyond Sunday. For now, all that matters is France and the chance to spring another major shock. “They are going to come up against a combative team, a team that wants to win and is going to battle for the whole 90 minutes,” he vowed. “They’ll see our hunger, our hunger to win.”

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    Honduras coach dismisses over-physical critics

    Honduras coach Luis Suarez said his side's aggresive streak is nothing to be ashamed of as they head into a match against France in their opening FIFA World Cup game on Sunday. The Central Americans' physical approach in their warm-up friendly against England last weekend was heavily criticised. They were reduced to 10-men in the second-half of the 0-0 draw when Brayan Beckeles was shown a second yellow card.

    Suarez insisted the reaction to one match was excessive, prefering instead to concentrate on their disciplinary record in qualifying. "We played 16 games of qualifiers and had no red cards so that shows that we play within the rules," he said. "We play with a lot of determination and we are intense, but that is allowed and important in football. "Our attitude is to face the games with character, with hunger, because we are looking as a team to achieve our goals. That is our attitude and I think that is a good thing."

    In their third appearance in the competition, Honduras are joined by Switzerland and Suarez's former side Ecuador in Group E. They can take encouragement from CONCACAF neighbours Costa Rica as they produced an upset by beating Uruguay 3-1 on Saturday and Suarez is hoping for a similar outcome against France.

    "I congratulate Costa Rica and (their coach) Jorge (Luis Pinto). I am not surprised because I know how good a team Costa Rica are, but it doesn't change my thoughts for tomorrow at all. We are aware of what our strengths are and we want to show them." Suarez is aware, though, that his side will have to be on their game defensively if they are to register their first ever win at the World Cup. "France have a lot of strengths," he continued. "In attack they are very quick, not just transition but how they move the ball in the final third. They have players that can strike the ball very well from outside the area, their full backs get forward as well. They are a very strong team and have many things in attack we have to be very careful of."

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    Hondurans won't settle just for history

    Honduras coach Luis Suarez believes his side can not only deliver the nation's first ever FIFA World Cup™ win against Ecuador on Friday, but also make it to the Round of 16 at the expense of Switzerland or France. Suarez led Ecuador to the second round for the first time in their history in 2006 and, despite a disappointing 3-0 defeat by France in their opening game, the 54-year-old is confident the Hondurans can respond in style. "We know that qualifying will be very difficult, but it has been a long road for the players and the coaching staff to get here and we don't want it to end now," he said.

    Honduras have not scored a goal in their last five FIFA World Cup matches, dating back to their inaugural appearance in 1982. However, Suarez insists he will not settle for just breaking that drought in Curitiba. "We are aware of what we are playing for," he continued. "It is very easy to think we could score a goal and be epic and historic, but I don't think that is the idea of this team.

    "The idea of the group is to do more and achieve great things. The idea is to win the thoughts of the people. I am so proud of this group and know that they will give everything." Honduras will be without experienced midfielder Wilson Palacios after he was sent off in the first half against France for two bookable offences. Suarez confirmed that former Hibernian midfielder Jorge Claros will replace his team-mate - and he too welcomed the challenge of rewriting the history books.

    "We are aware of the challenge we face and we are enjoying it. It is a privilege to be at a World Cup," he said. "To win games you have to score goals and you have to play well; we know it won't be easy but we leave the statistics to one side. "Some of the players and coaches are different to the past and we want to win this game to be in with a chance of qualifying for the next round. We will give everything for the shirt of our country."

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    Costly: I laid the Honduran curse to rest

    After a wait of no fewer than 32 years, Honduras have finally found the net once more at the FIFA World Cup™, Carlo Costly ending what had become something of a curse for Los Catrachos in their 2-1 defeat by Ecuador at Curitiba’s Arena da Baixada. “During the game it made my very happy and we celebrated it to the full, but it was a shame it wasn’t enough for us to get the win,” said the striker, who plays for Real Espana back in his homeland. The hard-running attacker’s 31st-minute effort not only put La H in front versus Group E rivals La Tri, it also ended his country’s run of 511 goalless World Cup minutes, just six before they would have moved level with Bolivia’s unwanted record of 517. Prior to Costly, the last man to score for Honduras at the global showpiece was Eduardo Laing, who netted against Northern Ireland on 21 June 1982 in Spain.

    “I was so happy when I scored that goal, because 32 years is a long time and a difficult barrier to overcome,” said Costly, speaking to FIFA.com after the game. “That myth, that curse which has been hanging over us for so long, has been laid to rest now but, even so, we’ve still got a slightly bitter taste in our mouths because we had a great chance of winning the game. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way, but we played well so we can hold our heads up high. “It might well be the most important goal I’ve scored in my career, because it’s not every day you play in a World Cup and score. It might be remembered for a while, but I’m not looking for individual recognition, I’m trying to get Honduras through to the next round.”

    Defeat against Ecuador was a major blow to that objective, however, with Honduras desperate for a positive result ahead of their final group match versus Switzerland. “We needed a bit more concentration, particularly in dead-ball situations," said Costly. "We weren’t quite clinical enough either, so we’ll need to work on that too. "Still, I thought we did well. Even when we conceded the second goal, we threw everything forward in attack and had a few chances – we were just lacking a finishing touch. “You have to try and make as few mistakes as possible. For the free-kick [which led to Ecuador’s winner], we committed a foul we shouldn’t have done, but we need to get our heads up now. We’ve worked very hard to get here and we’re not going to give in so easily.”

    Yet the task facing Honduras is certainly sizeable, Costly and Co needing to beat Switzerland by several goals and hope France down Ecuador to have a chance of reaching the Round of 16. “Hope is the last thing you lose, as they say, but we know it’ll be a very tough match against the Swiss because we know their game well,” said the 31-year-old, who has tasted club football in no fewer than eight countries. “We’re still hopeful and we’ve got faith that everything will turn out well, that’s what we’re clinging on to.” Costly, whose father Allan played at Spain 1982 and who was born mere days after that year’s competition finished, also found time to explain his unusual shirt number, before taking his leave. “First of all I used No13 because it got given to me, but then I got a feel for it and it’s been really good for me,” he said with a smile. “I’ve always scored goals when wearing that number and now, wherever I go, I make sure I ask for it!”

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    Honduras boss Suarez steps down

    Honduras coach Luis Suarez has stepped down after a 3-0 defeat to Switzerland saw his team bow out at the group stage of the FIFA World Cup™ on Wednesday. Honduras finished bottom of Group E after three consecutive defeats that also included a 3-0 loss to France and a 2-1 defeat to Ecuador. The Central Americans needed to beat Switzerland to have any hope of qualifying for the last 16 but Xherdan Shaqiri's hat-trick dashed any remaining hopes of progress.

    "Unfortunately we didn't get the result we were hoping for (against Honduras)," Suarez said. "The whole country is disappointed and I'm sad because we didn't manage to reach the next round. That was our dream. I made the decision to step down five minutes ago. It's time for a change. "The new coach has a good squad at his disposal, we've got good young players and we're on the right track. I'll take positive memories from this experience and I'll always be a Honduras fan."

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