Honduras (pictured) celebrates after defeating host Costa Rica on March 1, 2017, in San Jose, Costa Rica, to advance to the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship final and qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. (Photo: Straffon Images)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- When Honduras qualified for the Under-20 World Cup in 2015, it ended a six-year absence from the competition, a drought that also included not participating in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in 2013.
Now that the Catrachos have qualified for a second consecutive trip to the FIFA event and possess a chance to claim the CONCACAF title, thanks to Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Costa Rica, there’s genuine appreciation for the process that has brought them to this point.
“Some of us have worked together from the under-15s and the under-17s,” said goalkeeper Javier Delgado, who plays his club football with Honduras Progreso. “Here, we are brothers and we all work at the same rhythm, and that’s led to this success.”
After facing adversity right from the get-go with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Canada in the group stage opener, this Honduran team has proven to be shaped by its ability to hurdle obstacles.
Against host Costa Rica, Honduras was up against a partisan crowd and fell behind 1-0 in 47th minute, before leveling just two minutes later on Denil Maldonado’s header. Another header with 20 minutes remaining in normal time by Foslyn Grant was the game-winner.
Rather than examining a snapshot of the performance, Honduras head coach Carlos Tabora preferred to focus more on intangibles.
“Before talking about anything technical or tactical or our position or our system or our model of play, we must speak of our mental character and our personality,” the 52-year-old expressed. “We know that these regional games hold an intrinsic emotional element for the players and today our players showed our personality.”