Sorry, Honduras, just not this time
Talk about a bad draw. Honduras drew into Group H for South Africa 2010 along with Chile, Spain, and Switzerland. Can anyone say “three-and-out“? Maybe. Honduras had an interesting qualifying tournament in CONCACAF. Of the 10 games they played, they won five, tied one, and lost four. Let’s look at their wins and losses…
They went to Costa Rica, which is never easy, not even for Mexico or the USA, and lost 2-0. They went to Trinidad and Tobago, the one team everyone was supposed to walk all over, and tied 1-1. They then received Mexico and, on a very wet pitch, beat the Mexican team 3-1 (almost ensuring the exit of Sven Goran Eriksson from El Tri). Honduras then traveled to Chicago and lost against the Stars and Stripes 2-1. For the fifth game, they welcomed El Salvador and beat them 1-0. Midway through the qualifying tournament, Honduras had 7 points, one better than Mexico, three less than the US.
Qualifying seemed “iffy” at best.
For the second round of the tournament, Honduras received and dismantled Costa Rica 4-0. They did the same to Trinidad, 4-1. Honduras then traveled to Azteca Stadium and almost got away with a tie, losing 1-0. They had a major trip-up when they received team USA and lost 3-2 (with a Panamanian ref that barely got out of San Pedro Sula alive). For their last game, they had to go into El Salvador (never easy) and win to get away from a playoff against a South American team. (Or hope the US tied or beat Costa Rica.) Both things happened, and Honduras was going to South Africa.
But guess what? On December 2, 2009, Honduras was placed in Group H. Then they threw in the #2 team in the world, Spain. (Some will argue they’re the best, but I’m using the FIFA rankings here.) To make things interesting, they threw in Chile. Just for kicks, Chile finished 2nd in South American qualifying, behind Brazil. And then they added Switzerland, a European team that is not to be played with. Basically, they pulled down Honduras’ pants, bent them over a barrel, and went to work on them.
Then, to (literally) add injury to insult (and vice-versa), Carlos Costly (SC Vaslui), one of the best Honduran players got injured and is out of the World Cup crew.
Catch all games at Slainte Pub, and say good-bye to Honduras, even from afar, all the while enjoying good food, good drinks, and a great football soccer atmosphere.
My prediction for Honduras in South Africa: They lose to Chile, then lose to Spain, and, in a game that won’t matter, they’ll lose or tie with Switzerland. There is no way around this, folks. Chile is too strong. Spain is even stronger. And the European-style from Switzerland will give Honduras trouble. All three of Honduras’ opponents are ranked better, and are truly better. Sadly, they’ll be on their way back home come June 26th or so.
Nevertheless, Honduras has a bright future. They have been playing the “giants” (Mexico and USA) of CONCACAF very, very well in friendlies, tournaments, and qualifying. Their players are doing well in Europe. So the future is bright, Honduras. The future is bright… just not this time.
***”Paquinho” was born and raised in Mexico until age 10, when he came to the States and has been living the dream. When not writing about soccer, you can find him rambling on about infectious diseases.***