Honduras: What can the Socceroos expect?

Despite the daunting road trip that awaits the Socceroos, the Aussies will view Honduras' disciplinary weakness and away form as the keys to their World Cup success.

Honduras: What can the Socceroos expect?

Honduras: What can the Socceroos expect?

The Socceroos will face Honduras next month in a final two-legged playoff tie, with the first leg likely to be played away on November 9 and the second leg at home on November 14.

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In terms of the footballing test the Socceroos will have to pass over the two legs against Honduras, it's one the Aussies should be confident of overcoming.

The most important player for the Hondurans remains their captain, Maynor Figueroa, whose probably best remembered for his astonishing Premier League strike for Wigan in 2009.

However, that was eight years ago now and Figueroa's Premier League days are well and truly a thing of the past for the FC Dallas defender.

In any case Figueroa and forward Alberth Elis both received second yellow cards during their 3-2 win over Mexico and will only be available for the second leg in Sydney.

But up to six other players who weren't available for the Mexico match will apparently come into consideration for the Socceroos fixtures including Anderlecht right back Andy Najar and former Wigan midfielder/winger Roger Espinoza.

Romell Quioto is another man the Socceroos will have to be wary of, with his four goals in the final round of qualifying the most of any Honduran player.

One of the Houston Dynamo forward's goals came in the 3-2 win over Mexico on the final day of CONCACAF qualifying that sealed Honduras' place in the playoffs.

Taking a look at the table for the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, it's clear that while Honduras have few troubles scoring goals, their rate of conceding goals will have the Socceroos licking their lips.

CONCACAF standings after the final games of qualifying. Pic: FIFA

Scoring at better than a goal a game, the Hondurans will undoubtedly pose questions for the Socceroos' defence, particularly at home where they won the majority of their points (W2, D2, L1).

However, it's in defence and through their discipline where Honduras will have major cause for concern; their 19 goals against was the joint-worst in CONCACAF alongside group whipping boys Trinidad and Tobago.

Over the 10 matches in the final qualifying phase that's almost two goals a game they've conceded and their discipline (2 red cards, 19 yellows) is the worst of any team.

Their away form (W1, D2, L2) is also something the Socceroos will look to exploit in the all-important second leg, with a 6-0 drubbing against USA and a 3-0 defeat to Mexico suggesting Honduras aren't good travellers.

The first leg will likely be played on November 9 in the Honduran city, San Pedro Sula, which was until 2016 known as the murder capital of the world.

Sure, it will be intimidating for the Socceroos but the level of hostility they're likely to encounter isn't foreign to Australian footballers.

Australia v Honduras. Image: Getty

The Socceroos' Golden Generation - of which Tim Cahill was an integral member - came through the Montevideo furnace in 2005 and out the other side to end their 32-year wait to qualify for the World Cup.

Four years prior in the same city, the Aussies touched down to one of the most inhospitable welcomes imaginable.

Australia's players were jostled and spat at by mobs of people waiting outside the airport as the players boarded their team bus.

One man who knows better than most what it's like to arrive in a foreign city where the locals are baying for your blood is coach Ange Postecoglou, who experienced the Montevideo animosity in 2001 as Australia's assistant.

The lessons learned after that first failed attempt to navigate past Uruguay in 2001 were rectified four years later and they've laid the foundations for our future success.

Football Federation Australia will spare no expense to ensure the best logistical and security preparations are put in place so our travel and acclimatisation is as seamless and smooth as possible.

In terms of climate, the Socceroos can expect tropical conditions on their travels, however, November is the dry season in Honduras so they may avoid the frequent wet spells.

The advantage of playing the second leg at home can never be underestimated in football and the Socceroos will be delighted that fate presented them with that fortune.

If current form holds true and the Socceroos can get at least one goal away against a porous Honduras defence, the Aussies will like their chances of finishing the job back in Sydney.

WHO ARE HONDURAS - THE TEAM

FIFA RANKING: 74 (Australia 50)
NICKNAME: Los Catrachos
QUALIFICATION RESULTS: Won three (Trin & Tob 3-1 and 2-1; Mexico 3-2), drew four (Costa Rica 1-1 and 1-1; Panama 2-2, USA 1-1), lost three (Panama 1-0; USA 6-0; Mexico 3-0)
WORLD CUP HISTORY: 1982 (group stage), 2010 (group stage), 2014 (group stage)
KEY PLAYERS: Maynor Figueroa, Emilio Izaguirre, Boniek Garcia
ACHIEVEMENTS: 1981 CONCACAF champions, 1985 and 1991 runners-up

THE PLACE ITSELF

POPULATION: 9.1 million (Source: World Bank)
LOCATION: Central America, in between Guatemala and Nicaragua, and also bordered the Caribbean Sea, El Salvador and the North Pacific Ocean.
CAPITAL: Tegucigalpa

INTERESTING FACTS

  • It is said to rain fish at least once a year in the Honduran city of Yoros * with locals holding a festival to celebrate the unusual downpour.
  • Honduras went to war with El Salvador for several days in 1970 after riots at the two nations' World Cup qualifying matches flared existing tensions.
  • The term Banana Republic was originally used to describe Honduras's reliance on banana exports.
  • The murder rate in Honduras is exceptionally high, with about 90 murders per 100,000 people (compared to just one per 100,000 in Australia).
  • The nation's Bay Islands sit on the second largest coral reef in the world, behind the Great Barrier Reef.

With Agencies

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