Assessment: Honduras sent packing
Honduras were criticised for their physical approach to the World Cup, and ESPN FC blogger Nicholas Rogers looks back at their tournament.
One sentence, World Cup recap
Poor mentality, not enough quality, bad tactical decisions and unfair refereeing decisions sent Honduras packing.
All team assessments
Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast | Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Carlo Costly, as he scored Honduras' first World Cup goal for 32 years. He, unfortunately missed the last tournament due to injury, so this should at least make up for some of that disappointment. At 32, this was his last World Cup, but no one will forget the tears of joy that accompanied his goal.
Costly's goal. Even though Honduras only held the lead for three minutes before Ecuador's Enner Valencia equalised, it was a wonderful moment to celebrate. It was a fine goal; Costly shrugged his opponent aside before firing into the bottom corner to trigger delirium, however brief.
There were a few low points to say the least, the first being the mentality -- a long-term issue rather than a World Cup low point. Honduras went flying in with wild challenges, something which made them look desperate. Even though they knocked the ball around quite well in patches, this is the least we expect at a World Cup. Some sections of the local media suggested there were conflicts in the camp, especially surrounding the Alan Peralta injury.
Elsewhere, it was claimed that Honduran club owners had a say on the lineup so richer clubs could see their players, hoping they could be sold for inflated fees. It appears all was not well. In addition, Some of the senior players failed to show up. Emilio Izaguirre, despite doing reasonably well to stop Antonio Valencia in the first half against Ecuador, was a shadow of the man who plays for Celtic. Another was Wilson Palacios, who was foolishly sent off and left his team to play with 10 men against France. Jerry Bengston was a disappointment as well, guilty of missing two easy opportunities in the Switzerland game. If Costly decides to retire, La H will be relying on Bengston to come with the goods in the future.
They also have a right to feel aggrieved about the refereeing. In the first game against France, Paul Pogba should have been sent off for petulantly kicking Wilson. Jerry Palacios was hauled down against the Swiss but a penalty was not given. Had they got some of those decisions, their tournament could have been a lot more fruitful.
Coach Luis Suarez stood down after Honduras were eliminated, which was expected. The lack of a winning mentality is the coach's responsibility and therefore Suarez could have done a lot better. Noel Valladares, Victor Bernardez, Maynor Figueroa and Costly have surely played their last big tournament but the future could be bright -- watch out for Honduras in eight years as the U17 team is showing a lot of promise.
Ultimately, Honduras were not expected to qualify from the group stages, and it's a bitter pill for fans to swallow when they see the other CONCACAF teams do so well. They showed they can put pressure on teams but little else, which is a shame for a football-loving nation.