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Honduras cautious, but confident, as WCQs near
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Despite some recent injury concerns, it appears that Honduras' Brayan Beckeles (blue jersey) will be fit to play against visiting Panama in a World Cup qualifier on November 11, 2016. (Photo: Victor Straffon/Straffon Images)

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Honduras will kick off its third straight appearance in the final round of qualifying for a FIFA World Cup on Friday, when it hosts Panama at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

The Catrachos hope to submit a performance that will continue them down the road to a third consecutive trip to the World Cup finals. They face a Panamanian side that has never qualified for a World Cup, but is more than capable of ending that futile stretch.

“Panama is very difficult,” said Honduras defender Brayan Beckeles. “But when Honduras is united, it gets results. We showed it against Canada and El Salvador.”

Honduras started the previous round in uneven form, earning only a point from the first three games. The following three encounters, however, yielded confidence-boosting results. A pair of home wins over El Salvador (2-0) and Canada (2-1) was followed by a 0-0 draw at Mexico, an outcome that clinched advancement to the Hexagonal.

There have been fitness concerns surrounding Beckeles, who left at halftime of Necaxa’s Liga MX Apertura game at Morelia on October 29 with an injury. He went the all way in a 3-1 win over visiting Puebla on Saturday, but discomfort persists.

“It’s always a bother, but it is tolerable to train. I can play if I have to,” the 30-year-old expressed. “I have to forget the pain and make myself ready for (head coach Jorge Luis) Pinto.”

Teammate Alberth Elis echoed Beckeles’ upbeat sentiments and believes that Honduras can claim wins, first against Panama and then Trinidad & Tobago four days later.

“We hope to show well on Friday and Tuesday,” commented the forward. “We have worked well and we are going to show what I am made of. We are motivated. We hope that everything goes well and that we can win the six points.”

 
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