Honduras in positive mood for Costa Rica match
A Honduran club's 6-0 rout of Costa Rican opponents last week is giving Honduras added belief for their World Cup qualifier at home to their neighbours in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday.
The Costa Rica team arrived amid tight security following the coup in June that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya but coach Rodrigo Kenton said they found the atmosphere calm and felt at home in "a brother country".
The match will nevertheless be heavily policed after at least three people died and many more were wounded after clashes between fans and police outside the National Stadium in the capital after a local derby last month.
Honduran club side Real Espana last week crushed Liberia Mia, who have five Costa Rica internationals, 6-0 at home in their CONCACAF Champions League qualifying round, second leg for a 6-3 aggregate victory.
"Five internationals is a lot for any team and with such a rout anyone can be affected," Honduras's Mexico-based midfielder Ramon Nunez said.
"So let's hope it benefits us and they come with their morale low," the Cruz Azul player told Honduran media.
Liberia Mia defenders Feddy Fernandez, Michael Umana and Harold Wallace, midfielder Esteban Sirias and striker Alejandro Alpizar are all in Costa Rica's squad.
Right wing back Wallace said: "For us it's (a chance) for revenge, that's the lovely thing about football, that things happen and a short time later you have the opportunity to set them right.
"For me that's what it will be... it's like a feeling of (seeking) revenge," he told the Honduran newspaper le Prensa's website (www.laprensahn.com).
Honduras's Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda said he hoped striker Carlos Pavon could repeat on Wednesday the hat-trick he scored for Real Espana in the match that put them in the Champions League group phase.
With five matches to go, Costa Rica are looking to secure their place in South Africa with a game or two to spare.
Costa Rica, who beat Honduras 2-0 at home in February, are top with 12 points in the six-nation group from which the top three will go through to the finals in South Africa next year.
They are followed by the U.S. with 10 points, Honduras seven, Mexico six, El Salvador five and Trinidad & Tobago two. The team finishing fourth will go into a playoff with the fifth-placed team in South America.
Costa Rica are looking to reach their third World Cup tournament in a row and fourth altogether. Honduras reached the 1982 finals in Spain.
El Salvador, who have played at the 1970 and 1982 World Cups, meet surprise 2006 finalists Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain looking for a win to keep in touch with the leading teams.
Mexico, in a precarious fourth place, will be out to beat the U.S. for the second time since their Gold Cup victory last month when they meet at the Azteca.