• Friday Jul 27, 2012

    Honduras ponders Olympic consquences

    By Michael Lewis


    GLASGOW, Scotland -- Honduras has been assessing the damage, trying to determine the longer-term effects after it allowed a goal midway through the second half and settled for a 2-2 draw with Morocco in its Olympic opener.

    Having rallied from an early deficit to take the lead, Honduras permitted the equalizer on two minutes after going ahead Thursday, and then failed to capitalize on a man advantage over the final 18 minutes.

    With games looming against Spain on Sunday and Japan on Wednesday, the Hondurans were ruing the missed opportunity.

    "It was a difficult game, but playing against 10 players, we should have won the game," midfielder Andy Najar said.

    "We are not super happy with the result, but it was OK," second-half substitute forward Eddie Hernandez said. "At least we didn't lose."

    A loss would have worsened the situation in a group where Japan scored the biggest shocker of the first day - upsetting heavily favored Spain 1-0.

    "The draw was a fair result, but this will make it difficult [for us] against Japan and Spain," Honduras coach Luis Suarez said. "It will not be easy in this tough group."

    Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza, one of three overage players on the Honduran team, felt there was room for improvement.

    "Maybe be a little more consistent in the way we play the ball and a little more defensive minded," he said.

    Spain will need a victory to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination - as well as for confidence. However, it will have to do it without midfielder Inigo Martinez, who was red-carded on Thursday.

    "They are a very strong opponent," Hernandez said.

    Much has been expected of Spain in light of the senior team's titles at the 2010 World Cup and European Championship last month. The team boasts three players from that Euro Euro title-winning side - defender Jordi Alba, team captain and midfielder Javier Martinez and forward Juan Mata.

    "We need to improve some things and we have to play better," Mata said.

    Spain is aware of the consequences of another disappointing result, and coach Luis Milla is taking a rather aggressive approach to his final group stage matches.

    "We have to pick ourselves up," he said. "There are two group games left and we will treat them both as finals.

    "We have two finals against Honduras and Morocco. We need to go into the games with this mentality."

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