Loss to Switzerland Highlights Honduras' Shortcomings at World Cup

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

Honduras' Juan Carlos Garcia reacts after being defeated by Switzerland, 3-0, during the group E World Cup soccer match between Honduras and Switzerland at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

So long, Honduras!

Switzerland was the last executioner of Los Catrachos in their worst World Cup appearance.

For the third time in their history, La H left the tournament after the group stage. Luis Fernando Suarez's boys didn't grab a single point, and they became the third team to lose all three games.

Honduras had a rough opening match, as they faced France. The Europeans didn't have Franck Ribery on the roster because he suffered a last minute injury that sidelined him from the tournament.

But Karim Benzema was sharp and ready to tackle the challenge. He scored a brace, which could have been a hat-trick, but his last goal was ruled as an own goal by goalkeeper Noel Valladares.

Honduras never stood a chance. They created two opportunities, sent seven crosses—and failed to complete them all—and won 50 percent of their aerial duels.

To make things even worse their key man, Wilson Palacios, was sent off in the first half after receiving two yellow cards.

Perhaps many thought that the match vs. the Les Bleus was lost even before it started, but the second clash, against Ecuador, would be the perfect opportunity to take a step forward to finally qualify to the knockout stage.

Honduras took advantage of Ecuador's shaky defense, especially in set pieces and opened the score with a powerful header by Carlo Costly.

But Ecuador found the way to defeat Valladares, mainly with Enner Valencia's individual efforts, eventually putting the ball away twice to bury La H's hopes.

The third game was even worse. Switzerland needed to tie or win it to secure their ticket to the knockout stage, and their victim would be Honduras.

Xherdan Shaqiri bagged the opening goal just six minutes into the game with a perfect shot from outside the box.

It would be his first of three goals, which puts him as the second Swiss to score a hat-trick in a World Cup, just behind Josef Hugi who accomplished the feat in 1954 against Austria in the quarterfinals.


What went wrong?

Everything. Honduras conceded eight goals, one less than Cameroon and Australia and is one of three teams that lost all their matches. The Indomitable Lions and the Socceroos are the other two.

However, Honduras sat higher under FIFA's seeding parameters, La H was 34th, Australia 57th and Cameroon 59th.

Nevertheless, their performance was worse, and it was more noticeable because, on paper,their group was easier.

Their rivals in Group E included France that won the 1998 World Cup and qualified to this edition through the playoffs.

Ecuador were making their third appearance in the World Cup and made it to Brazil 2014 thanks to the goal difference. Uruguay also had 25 points, but their goal difference was equal to zero.

Switzerland led Group E of the UEFA qualifying, which included Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania and Cyprus; their best performance in World Cups came in 1934, 1938 and 1954, when they advanced to the quarterfinals.

In return, Honduras had a dream qualifying process, which included a key victory against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca.

Los Catrachos proved to be the weakest CONCACAF team on the tournament. Costa Rica, Mexico and United States won at least one game.

Nervousness was evident, plus they lacked creativity and depth. Different from other teams that didn't have the ball much but managed to surprise their rivals, Honduras played a very traditional and boring football.

If there's a silver lining to this story, perhaps it is that for the first time La H played back-to-back World Cups and that they showed more determination in their confederation, but there's still a long way to go.

All stats appear courtesy of Squawka.com unless otherwise noted.