Honduras World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2014

Honduras World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

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    Fernando Antonio/Associated Press

    Honduras are set to make their third appearance in World Cup history. They'll arrive in Brazil after securing an automatic ticket via the Hexagonal, which included a victory over Mexico at the mythic Estadio Azteca for the first time ever.

    La H brings a powerful generation of footballers. Only 10 of the 23 men appointed by Luis Fernando Suarez actually play in Honduras—the others have left their homeland in hope of becoming better and more experienced.

    The challenge is huge. Honduras will face Switzerland, France and Ecuador next month. It seems like their only shot at grabbing points will be against La Tri.

Road to the Finals

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    In the third round of the qualifying process Honduras led Group C with a 3-2-1 record. The only game they lost was the opener against Panama on home soil.

    After that, Los Catrachos never looked back and secured two victories against Cuba and Canada plus two away draws, to Canada and Panama.

    In the Hexagonal, Honduras fought hard and took advantage of the home games. They went unbeaten on home turf, securing 11 points of 15 possible.

    However, they suffered on the road. They lost three, tied one and won one, against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, the first time they accomplished the feat.

    Los Catrachos qualified automatically to Brazil 2014 after grabbing 15 points and finishing the tournament in third place.

Full Squad

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    This is Luis Fernando Suarez's 23-man team:

    Goalkeepers: Noel Valladares (Olimpia), Donis Escober (Olimpia) and Luis Lopez (Real Espana).

    Defenders: Brayan Beckeles (Olimpia), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic), Juan Carlos Garcia (Wigan Athletic), Maynor Figueroa (Hull City), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Osman Chavez (Qingdao Jonoon) and Juan Pablo Montes (Motagua).

    Midfielders: Arnold Peralta (Rangers), Luis Garrido (Olimpia), Roger Espinoza (Wigan Athletic), Jorge Claros (Motagua), Wilson Palacios (Stoke City), Oscar Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Andy Najar (Anderlecht), Mario Martinez (Real Espana) and Marvin Chavez (Chivas USA).

    Forwards: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Jerry Palacios (Alajuelense), Rony Martinez (Real Sociedad Honduras) and Carlo Costly (Real Espana).

     

    You can check out Bleacher Report’s Honduras squad guide here: Honduras Player-by-Player Guide

Manager Profile

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    Luis Fernando Suarez is an experienced coach who has already been in a World Cup.

    He played in the Colombian first and second divisions with Atletico Nacional and Deportivo Pereira for eight years.

    In 1995 he retired and four years later he took over his first squad, Atletico Nacional.

    In 2004 he arrived in Ecuador and managed to take them to the 2006 World Cup finals. Once in Germany, La Tri qualified for the knockout stage for the first time in their history, losing to England in the last 16.

    He went back to coaching South American clubs until 2011 when he was hired to manage Honduras.

    Suarez's boys finished fourth in the 2011 and 2013 Gold Cups, but it was in the Hexagonal where they truly shined.

    He usually goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which shouldn't change at all in Brazil.

Star Man: Carlo Costly

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    At age 31, Carlo Costly continues to be a thriving force for Honduras.

    He has scored 30 times for La H in 68 appearances, six of them in 2013, including the winning goal at the Estadio Azteca.

    Costly is a quick, elusive and accurate striker. He is deadly when he steps into the box as he can dribble around defenders with ease and shoot from close range or long distance.

    He has yet to play in a World Cup; he missed South Africa 2010 due to an injury.

1 to Watch: Jerry Bengtson

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    Jerry Bengtson is the future of Honduras' offensive line. He is a 27-year-old who arrived at MLS club New England Revolution in 2012.

    Before that he played for Honduran squads Motagua and Vida. Between 2009 and 2011 he received three top scorer awards (2009–10 Clausura, 2010–11 Apertura, 2010–11 Clausura) and secured one league title.

    With New England Revolution he has appeared 36 times and scored five goals so far.

    Meanwhile, with La H Bengtson has settled as a reliable striker who knows how to anticipate the rivals' defense by taking advantage of his speed.

    He can shoot with both feet but also has a strong aerial game.

World Cup Record and Statistics

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Honduras have only played two World Cups.

    They qualified for Spain 1982 after leading the 1981 CONCACAF Championship. Once in the World Cup they tied 1-1 with the hosts and with Northern Ireland but lost to 1-0 to Yugoslavia, which left them at the bottom of the table.

    After 28 years they qualified for another World Cup after finishing third in the Hexagonal. In South Africa they faced Spain, Chile and Switzerland.

    La H couldn't do much. Their record was worse than in 1982, with two defeats (to Chile and Spain) and one draw.

    Top scorer at World Cup finals: Eduardo Laing (one in Spain 1982) and Hector Zelaya (one in Spain 1982).

    Most appearances at World Cup finals: Allan Costly, Georgie Welcome, Gilberto Yearwood, Hector Zelaya, Jaime Villegas, Jose Figueroa, Julio Cesar Arzu, Maynor Figueroa, Noel Valladares, Osman Chavez, Porfirio Betancourt, Ramon Maradiaga, Ramon Nunez, Walter Martinez and Wilson Palacios (three)

    Oldest player to feature at World Cup finals: Carlos Pavon (36 years, eight months and seven days).

    Most caps: Amado Guevara (138)

    Top scorer: Pavon (58)

    Previous World Cup meetings: Honduras met Switzerland at South Africa 2010. Both teams grabbed one point after a scoreless draw. La H has never faced Ecuador and France in World Cups.

    Other meetings: Honduras has played 12 matches against Ecuador with a 2-7-3 record.

Group Fixtures

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    Jose Zamith/Associated Press

    France vs. Honduras

    June 15, 2014 (4 p.m. local)—Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre

     

    Honduras vs. Ecuador

    June 20, 2014 (7 p.m. local)—Arena da Baixada, Curitiba

     

    Honduras vs. Switzerland

    June 25, 2014 (4 p.m. local)—Arena AmazoniaManaus