Get to know the Hondurans

Josh Roar Pro

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    Honduras is the fourth best team in North America, but who knows anything about them? Here’s the nation’s story so far and what the Socceroos should expect.

    Results
    The final round of Honduras’ CONCACAF road to Russia was a heart-stopper, qualifying ahead of USA on the final day of matches.

    Early on they were smashed 6-0 by USA and 3-0 by Mexico, but managed to turn things around structurally as the team found more consistency in defence. Other than those two results, they benefitted from being a hard-to-defeat team, as opposed to one that was going to dominate.

    As it turned out, three wins and four draws from ten qualifying games would be enough for fourth spot. Of the three wins, two came against the bottom-ranked Trinidad and Tobago, while the third, in the final match, was a 3-2 win over the already-qualified Mexico.

    At home, their record was much stronger than away. Five games, two wins and two draws at the Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula is a very good return.

    The match against Australia will be the national side’s sixth game at the stadium in 12 months, with the familiarity surely providing some advantage.

    Key players

    Eddie Hernández
    After missing Honduras’ initial squad because of doubts over his injured cheekbone, Hernández is a strong chance to start at centre forward.

    He’s hard to miss because of his height (191cms) and he’s wearing a facemask.

    Australians will no doubt love to hate the powerful striker.

    Romell Quioto
    Quioto was the Hondurans’ leading scorer in the qualifying stages, netting six goals. He plays as a striker for his club, Houston Dynamo in the MLS, but has been deployed on the left side, allowing Hernández to play as the central forward.

    He’s quick, and has a keen eye for goal.

    Maynor Figueroa
    The captain and the most experienced of all the Hondurans, some keen fans might remember Figueroa from the eight seasons he spent in England with Hull City and Wigan Athletic.

    The composed central defender has represented his country 118 times, after debuting way back in 2004. Also, he doesn’t score often, but when he does it’s spectualar, like his strike from inside his own half for Wigan a few years back.

    Likely line-up
    In the last match against Mexico, which Honduras won 3-2, manager Jorge Luis Pinto used a 4-2-3-1 formation. There’s no reason why that should change, as it provides plenty of attacking options against Australia’s shaky defence.

    If things don’t work out like that, watch for Pinto to move Elis or Quioto into a second-striker role and the team to move into a more traditional 4-4-2.