Honduras Team Preview

The Players

Luis López goalkeeper, Real Espana

Osman Chavez defender, Qingdao Janoon

Maynor Figueroa defender, Hull City

Juan Montes defender, Motagua

Victor Bernardez defender, San Jose Earthquakes

Juan Carlos Garcia defender, Wigan

Emilio Izaguirre midfielder, Celtic

Wilson Palacios midfielder, Stoke

Jerry Palacios midfielder, Alajuelense

10 Marvin Chavez midfielder, Chivas USA

11 Jerry Bengtson forward, New England Revolution

12 Edder Delgado midfielder, Real Espana

13 Carlo Costly forward, Real Espana

14 Boniek Garcia midfielder, Houston Dynamo

15 Roger Espinoza midfielder, Wigan

16 Rony Martinez forward, CD Real Sociedad

17 Andy Najar midfielder, Anderlecht

18 Noel Valladares goalkeeper, Olimpia

19 Luis Garrido midfielder, Olimpia

20 Jorge Claros midfielder, Motagua

21 Brayan Beckeles defender, Olimpia

22 Donis Escober goalkeeper, Olimpia

23 Mario Martinez midfielder, Real Espana

Star man


Wilson Palacios, the Claude Makelele of the Potteries, is the heartbeat of the team and one of many squad members from the Garifuna ethnic group but Honduran hopes will be riding on the youngest member of their squad, Andy Najar. The 21-year-old winger has blossomed at Anderlecht, where he was selected by 70% of the fans’ vote as Belgian player of the month in March.

Most likely to be sent home in disgrace …
Carlo Costly has failed to settle with nine teams in eight countries – refusing to return to a Polish side because it was “horribly cold” – and took a swipe at the national coach on Facebook after he was left out of one squad. He does, though, have his own signature style of dummy, the Costlynha – a fake dragback followed by sharp acceleration.

The coach

Luis Fernando Suarez. A more stable figure than his Uruguayan namesake, the Colombian – who led Ecuador to the second round in 2006 before losing to England – has taken Honduras to the finals. Anything else is a bonus.

Grudge match

Any match against Costa Rica is always a battle for Central American supremacy – el clásico centroamericano. In qualification, two tight encounters between the sides each finished 1-0 to the home team. Mind you, if both Central American teams make it out of their groups you could probably retire on the payout from bookmakers.

Holed up

Los Catrachos – a name derived from a 19th-century general who fought against William Walker’s US empire-building “filibusters”– will flop at the Hotel Transamérica in Porto Feliz, São Paulo state, and have taken steps against homesickness by asking for six dedicated Spanish-language TV channels, including two from Honduras.

How they qualified
An away win in Mexico and strong home form secured the third automatic qualifying spot behind Costa Rica and the USA.

World Cup high
A 1-1 draw against hosts Spain in Valencia in their first ever World Cup finals match in 1982. They drew their second match against Northern Ireland before losing to Yugoslavia.

World Cup low
Vladimir Petrovic’s 88th-minute penalty for Yugoslavia in that final game in 1982 denied Honduras the glory of a place in the second round and allowed hosts Spain to progress.

Familiar faces
Maynor Figueroa (Hull), Wilson Palacios (Stoke), Roger Espinoza (Wigan).

Title odds: 500/1

The stereotype is …
Win, lose or draw they just want to party, soak up the atmosphere and put themselves in the shop window for a move to Europe.

The reality is …
They desperately want to win a game at a World Cup. By any means possible, even nefarious ones. And maybe party a little. Honduras are expected to line up in a vogueish 4-2-3-1 but the basic facts are that they are physically strong, compact and dangerous from set pieces and on counterattacks where the height and power of Costly, whose father Allan played at the 1982 World Cup, can cause problems. Emilio Izaguirre of Celtic is a marauding threat from left-back while Hull’s Maynor Figueroa may be deployed in central defence. The captain Noel Valladares offers experience in goal (118 caps) if not stature (5ft 10in).

What they’re known for:
Being laid back 40 per cent
Coffee 12 per cent
Wilson Palacios 22 per cent
Macaws 26 per cent

How Google translates the national anthem
Pigeons waves with their shields, a volcano. Behind the bare summit there is a bright sun shines.

How long does it last?
Seemingly forever. The Bohemian Rhapsody of national anthems.

How to dress like their fans:

A penchant for face paint makes many fans look like a cross between the Blue Man Group and Kiss.

Commentator’s go-to stat
They have yet to win a game in six attempts at World Cup finals.