Unknown quantity Honduras have talent and experience to cause stir
With three Premier League-based players and a further three plying their trade in Serie A, it may surprise some to realise just how much they already know about Honduras.
Wigan pair Maynor Figueroa and Henry Thomas will feature prominently, but Wilson Palacios is undoubtedly the star of the show, with the Tottenham midfielder having already won 69 caps despite being only 25-years-old. He’ll be integral to Honduras’ campaign in a similar manner to the way that Ghana rely on Michael Essien to drive the team on, but he’ll be ably supported by a talented and experienced group.
Only three of Reinaldo Rueda’s 23-man squad are under the age of 25, and it’s likely that for many of these players this will represent their first, and last, chance to appear at a Finals – Honduras previously made it in 1982, when they exited at the group stage with two draws and a loss.
It’s unlikely that they’d be disappointed with that record this time round, having only scraped through CONCACAF qualifying on goal difference ahead of a Costa Rica side who went on to lose their play-off to Uruguay.
Switzerland and Chile have stronger sides but won’t be quite sure what to expect, while fans of omens will note that Honduras’ other Group H rival Spain were one of the nations they took a point from in 1982.
Goals shouldn’t be too hard to come by, Genoa’s David Suazo and veteran Carlos Pavon, now playing domestically in Honduras, have both been in excellent goalscoring form for both club and country, while midfielders Amado Guevara and Julio Cesar de Leon also have a healthy number of international goals to their name.
And although they finished behind the highly-rated USA and Mexico sides in qualifying, they did boast a better defensive record than both, suggesting that they won’t be comfortably picked off by anyone in South Africa.