After the shocking loss to Japan in their first group game, Spain has a lot of work to do to reclaim that top spot in the group stage. Honduras, on the other hand, came back from two goals down in the second half against Morocco to leave the final score at 2-2, showing their resilience and determination.
If Spain want to claim the gold medal from this year’s Olympics and stake their claim as the leading football nation on all fronts, then some serious work needs to be done on their part. No better test can come at the right time than from Honduras, a team that could show them a thing or two about playing to the final whistle.
Where: St. James Park, Newcastle, England
When: Sunday, July 29, 3 p.m. EST
Live Stream: NBC Olympics
Spain Team Breakdown
Spain U-23 coach Luis Milla would do well to use this match as a wake-up call for his team as well as a chance to change a few things up in his starting lineup.
Inigo Martinez received a red card for obstructing a clear goal-scoring opportunity, so he will need to be replaced, hopefully by Azpilicueta. The Marseille man already has Champions League experience and almost got into the 2010 World Cup squad at the age of 20. He doesn’t seem to be anxious over the spotlight and certainly has the ability to fill in Inigo Martinez’s boots.
On the attacking front, Atletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain has been deemed fit enough to play against Honduras, and what a relief that is. Spain were looking for answers against Japan, and they just couldn’t find them in front of goal. An attacking lineup of Iker Muniain, Juan Mata and Adrian leaves a very talented front line for Spain.
Honduras Team Breakdown
With a point taken from their match against Morocco, Honduras’ game plan should take the momentum of the second half with them to this match. Granted, many would argue it was only Moroccan defender Zakaraya Bergdich’s red card that allowed Honduras to get back into the game. It did allow, however, New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengston to grab a brace against the Moroccans, and they will certainly need that firepower going into today's match.
Not much is expected in terms of lineup changes for Honduras, as their performance against Morocco encouraged Honduras coach Luis Suarez to keep the core of his team intact.
Prediction: With an attacking lineup of Juan Mata, Iker Muniain and Adrian, I can't see Spain not picking up the three points today. Final score prediction: 2-0