15-June France (8pm GMT Porto Alegre)
20-June Ecuador (11pm GMT Curitiba)
25-June Switzerland (9pm GMT Manaus)
Honduras will be competing in their third World Cup and, despite their lack of history, Rossella Marrai feels that Luis Suarez’s unknown package pose a threat in their group.
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
The Colombian tactician is no stranger to the World Cup scene, having taken Ecuador to consecutive tournaments in 2006 and 2010. With the South American nation he reached the second round by inflicting defeats on Poland and Costa Rica, but lost 1-0 to England, and it was here where he obtained hero status with La Tri. However, following a disappointing display four years later in South Africa, Suarez went on to take over the reins with Honduras in which he helped secure only their third World Cup finals appearance.
Why they could be dangerous
This Honduras team is probably one of the most untested nations to participate in the Brazil 2014 World Cup. After struggles in their 2010 outing in South Africa, Luis Suarez has managed to bring some form of stability to Honduras despite his willingness to bring in a handful of youth players. This clutch of promising players has seen them display a sense of enthusiasm and promise, and with the knowledge that they head over to Brazil with nothing to lose, they can embrace their time with freedom of expression.
The world on his shoulders: Emilio Izaguirre
A team that can’t claim the fame that the likes of Brazil and Germany have, Honduras is a modest country with a relatively inexperienced squad. Emilio Izaguirre, however, is a valued member of Los Catrachos as he is considered a key member to a respectable Honduran backline. He featured in the 2010 World Cup, pushing the experienced Maynor Figueroa out of position due to his stellar form. Currently at Celtic, Izaguirre is a stable left-back who overlaps with pace, attacks with flair and crosses with precision.
Did you know?
Their history on the field may not be a rich one, but Honduras can proudly boast that they became the first ever team from Central America to score two goals in a World Cup tournament. Having only featured in two editions of the competition, it is quite a feat to behold. It was in the 1982 World Cup where Honduras held both Spain and Northern Ireland to 1-1 draws.
Country legend: Amado Guevara
To put it simply, Amado Guevara is Honduras’ highest cap winner for the national team. El Lobo, as he is affectionately known, made his debut for his country in a Miami Cup match in May 1994 against Peru. Guevara represented his country in 49 World Cup qualification matches, played at 5 UNCAF Nations Cups as well as turning out in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cups. His final game was in June 2010, against eventual World Cup winners Spain, where he earned his 138th appearance for Honduras.
Luis Suarez is vastly considered as a rather conservative Coach. Preferring a straightforward 4-4-2 on the biggest of occasions, he rarely goes off track from that formation. His steady backline, consisting of Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirre are two stalwarts in his team, while Wilson Palacios can sit deep or push forward. On the road he usually opts to push Oscar Garcia behind Carlo Costly as an attacking midfielder, shifting to a 4-5-1. They may be unknown but it’s a starting XI that is highly tried and tested.
…France P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
…Ecuador P7 W1 D4 L2 F7 A9
…Switzerland P1 W0 D1 L0 F0 A0
Population: 8.5 million
World Cup appearances: 2
Best finish: First round in 1982 and 2010
Famous for: Becoming the only Central American football team to defeat and eliminate Brazil in a tournament – 2001 Copa America
Top Division: Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Honduras
How they got to the World Cup: Honduras came through the fourth and final round of CONCACAF to qualify for the World Cup in a group which consisted of the USA, Costa Rica and Mexico
FIFA World Ranking: 30
Last World Cup Appearance: 2010- First round exit after finishing bottom of Group H with a draw to Switzerland and losses to Spain and Chile.
Continental Honours: CONCACAF champions in 1981, UNCAF Nations Cup 1993, 1994, 2013
Most Capped Player: Amado Guevara (138 caps)
Leading International Scorer: Carlos Pavon (58 goals)
Nickname: Los Catrachos – Nickname for people of Honduras