Honduras midfielder Alexander Lopez (pictured) has one goal in four games during qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
COMAYAGUA, Honduras – There was arguably no better performing team in the final weeks of CONCACAF Hexagonal than Honduras. A case can be made that the uptick had much to do with a formation change implemented by head coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
After utilizing a 5-4-1, 4-3-3 and 5-3-2 formations in the first seven matches, Pinto opted for a 4-4-2 for the final three contests against the United States (1-1 home draw), Costa Rica (1-1 away draw) and Mexico (3-2 home win).
The decision paid off as the Catrachos went unbeaten in those outings to earn a spot in the intercontinental playoff against Australia for a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Midfielder Alexander Lopez hopes that Pinto sticks with the successful alignment.
“We hope that Pinto makes the best decision,” said the 25-year-old. “Honduras has played its best matches with a line of four. We are at home (in the first leg) and we expect to attack. If we have to give 200% we will do it. Here, we are playing for the entire country.”
Lopez played a big part in the WCQ campaign, starting the final four matches as Honduras collected eight points out of 12.
“At the end of qualifying, I ended up playing and it’s our turn to go out strong and look for the result that we all want,” he finished. “Whoever plays in the midfield should do it in the best way because in the end, when Honduran wins, the one who will celebrate is all of Honduras,” concluded Lopez.
The series with Australia will kick off on November 10 at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.