Honduras vs. Ecuador: Tactical Preview of World Cup Group E Match

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 20, 2014

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Enner Valencia of Ecuador (C) scores his team's first goal on a header during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Switzerland and Ecuador at Estadio Nacional on June 15, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

The first round of group-stage matches is in the books at the FIFA World Cup 2014 and now we turn our attention to the second lot.

Honduras and Ecuador are essentially battling to avoid the wooden spoon, as barring a miraculous turn of events, neither stands any realistic chance of making the knockout stages.



There's no two ways about it: Honduras' first game in the competition was ugly.

They hacked and kicked at England in their final pre-tournament warm-up game and we'd hoped it was simply a momentary loss of control. But against France they picked up where they left off; Wilson Palacios was sent off in the first half and the entire XI appeared angry from the word go.

Possible Honduras XI.
Possible Honduras XI.@stighefootball

Tactically they came out in a disciplined 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation, which quickly became a 4-4-1 after Palacios' dismissal. They sat deep, countered through Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengtson and tried to absorb as much pressure as they could.

France managed to get around the side of them with great movement, opening them up, but do Ecuador have the same guile?



The short answer to that question is no: Ecuador lack a creative genius who can break a team down single-handedly.

That may not be too much of an issue, though, as it's doubtful Luis Fernando Suarez will send his team out to be that negative against a weaker La Tri side.

Possible Ecuador XI.
Possible Ecuador XI.@stighefootball

In fact, they may just be a perfect match: Ecuador are "weak" enough on paper for Honduras to come out of their shells, yet strong enough to punish them with pace and power for doing so.

Enner Valencia has emerged as the goal threat in this side, with Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia providing the ammo from the wings.

"We know that Honduras are difficult opponents that are well-organised and it will be an intense match," Reinaldo Rueda told reporters ahead of the fixture. Glancing at the squad personnel, that suits La Tri just fine.


2 Tactical Clashes

1. Mano a Mano

If both managers stay true to form, we'll see the first 4-4-2 vs. 4-4-2 tactical battle of the FIFA World Cup 2014 when these two sides meet.

That means everyone has a natural man to mark, meet and test; there'll be no systematic gaps, spaces and pockets that appear on a regular basis.

The question, then, becomes who is stronger, man for man? Ecuador boast a better side on paper, and they therefore have to be considered favourites given their tactics level the playing field.


2. Feeding Key Outlets

Honduras and Ecuador both have clearly defined game plans and strong suits: The former move the ball quickly to their strikers' feet and go from there, while the latter work it wide quickly and let Montero and Valencia run with it.

Ecuador's crossing vs. Switzerland.
Ecuador's crossing vs. Switzerland.via Squawka.com

It's feasible to suggest whichever team clamps the other's primary mode of attack the best can take an early advantage. If service to Costly and Bengtson is blocked La H will be toothless; if Roger Espinoza and Andy Najar/Luis Garrido can swamp out the flanks, La Tri are in trouble.

It's down to the managers to recognise key threats and put plans in place to stop them.


Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.