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World Cup 2014 Previews Group E: Honduras

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Team: Honduras
Nickname: Los Catrachos
Group: E
Schedule: June 15 vs. France, June 20 vs. Ecuador, June 25 vs. Switzerland
World Cup History: Qualified (1982, 2010)
Rankings: FIFA (30), SPI (36)
Winning Odds: 2,000-1

Qualifying Form: Honduras qualified automatically through the Hex, finishing third on 15 points. Their run was eventful, with two two-goal comebacks to take four points from Mexico and win against the United States. Conversely, they dropped five points against Panama, who failed to qualify. They can be spirited at times, but very inconsistent.

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez. The 54-year-old Colombian took Ecuador on a historic run to the knockout round in Germany in 2006. Though, he was fired after being outscored 11-1 in their first three matches qualifying for 2010.

Tactics: Honduras play a 4-4-2, mostly for lack of a better plan. They don’t defend very well. They don’t have much creativity in midfield. They don’t have a talented striker up front. So…yeah.

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Player to Watch: Emilio Izaguirre. He’s a 28-year-old left back for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. He was the league’s Player of the Season in 2011, before suffering an ankle injury. Whether he’s starting at fullback or in midfield, he should be Honduras’ best bet to make something happen going forward.

Squad: This team has a spine of experienced English league players in defense and midfield, including Wilson Palacios, Maynor Figueroa and Roger Espinoza (former Buckeye, Kansas City Wizard). Most came to the league through Wigan under Roberto Martinez. None have been in particularly strong club form the past few years.

Most of their starting XI will be 28 or older, which could make them a liability against quicker teams. They don’t have much talent, especially in the attacking phase. The depth behind that starting XI is suspect. Honduras was rather dire in South Africa, and that team was better placed.

Group Outlook: Group E is one of the World Cup’s weakest. Honduras being there contributes to that. They aren’t a very good team. They qualified, largely as a product of Mexico’s implosion. Place firmly in the “happy to be there” camp. Qualifying twice in a row was a celebrated accomplishment. It’s hard to see Honduras advancing, even if a France meltdown goes nuclear. But a win against Ecuador or a result against one of the European sides would send them home with some pride.

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[Photos via Getty]

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