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honduras lose chokers' tag

By unknown | Dec 15, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

HONDURAS reached the finals of the Fifa World Cup for only the second time in dramatic fashion, with an equaliser in the dying seconds of the USA's clash with Costa Rica triggering frantic celebrations from Los Catrachos fans thousands of kilometres further south.

Yet despite having squeezed into the finals, coach Reinaldo Rueda's talented team will not be coming to South Africa just to make up the numbers.


Rueda's men dug deep from the outset to oust Puerto Rico 6-2 on aggregate to progress to the penultimate round of North, Central America and Caribbean zone qualifying.

Once there they successfully negotiated a tricky section to qualify for the final six-team hexagonal round ahead of Mexico, Jamaica and Canada.

The decisive final phase could barely have got off to a worse start, however, with Los Catrachos sinking to a 2-0 reverse away to fierce rivals Costa Rica.

A 1-1 draw in Trinidad and Tobago and a 3-1 home win over mighty Mexico got their bid back on track, only for Honduras to suffer a narrow 2-1 defeat in the US. An excellent run that included wins over El Salvador (1-0), Costa Rica (4-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (4-1) and a 1-0 reverse on Mexican soil then gave Los Catrachos the opportunity to clinch their passage to South Africa in the penultimate round of qualifying against the USA.


Over and above the country's big-name stars playing in Europe, Los Catrachos's key man in qualifying was evergreen 36-year-old forward Carlos Pavón.

In typically clinical fashion, it was the well-travelled goal-getter who fired his side's winner in El Salvador to ensure their place at the African showpiece.

Aided and abetted by the hugely talented David Suazo, Wilson Palacios, Julio Leon and Amado Guevara, Pavón would love nothing more than to crown his glorious international career with a goal-laden showing on the biggest football stage of all.


For Honduras, qualifying for the World Cup had become something of a recurring nightmare. Always among the pre-event favourites, they invariably contrived to fall short at key moments - that is, until the arrival in 2007 of 42-year-old Colombian strategist Rueda.

Rueda's professionalism struck a chord with the powers that be in Honduran football, who gave him the time to work that his predecessors were often denied.

He repaid that faith by guiding his adopted country to 2010 on the back of a sparkling attacking game and a solid backline. - Fifa


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