Honduras (left) and Costa Rica (right) will meet for the fourth time this year, when face-off on October 11, 2013, in a key World Cup qualifier. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- The math is simple for Honduras – four points from two matches and a second consecutive berth in the FIFA World Cup is clinched.
How the Catrachos achieve this goal remains to be seen. The most direct segment on that route would start with a victory at home over Costa Rica on Friday in the penultimate day of CONCACAF qualification.
The Costa Ricans and the United States have already booked their tickets to Brazil, while Honduras is currently in third place in the Hexagonal with 11 points, three points in front of both Panama and Mexico.
The top three teams earn automatic qualification, while the fourth place team must enter into an Intercontinental Playoff against New Zealand, the winner of the Oceania qualifiers.
“We have to win the game, regardless of Costa Rica and they are qualified, they will look to win and take all three points,” defender Osman Chavez told La Prensa.
Costa Rica defeated Honduras, 1-0, in their first meeting in San Jose on June 7 with defender Roy Miller scoring the game’s lone goal.
Maynor Figueroa missed that match for Honduras with an injury, but the defender is healthy and ready to go for Friday’s critical encounter in San Pedro Sula.
“Like any team I think Costa Rica is going to be complicated, but you have to pull out the victory,” Figueroa told La Prensa. “I think this game is going to make our lives and now we are preparing in the best way.”
Joining Figueroa on Luis Fernando Suarez’s squad for the final two qualifying matches is Motagua central defender Henry Figueroa, an emergency replacement for Jhonny Leveron, who was unable to travel from Vancouver to join the team.
“I’m really happy and I hope to God that gives me many more opportunities to come to the national team,” the 20-year-old told La Prensa. “Honestly, I did not expect this call. This is a dream come true. If the coach decides to put me in, I hope to do things the best way.”
Honduras will face Jamaica on October 15 in Kingston in their final qualifying match. The Reggae Boyz may be eliminated by that point (a loss on Friday at the U.S. will officially eliminate Jamaica from contention), but Honduras is focused squarely on a win over Costa Rica first.
“We have to get the three points,” commented Maynor Figueroa said. “We know that a win is getting us one step away from Brazil.”