Honduras’ Maynor Figueroa (pictured) has appeared in 51 career World Cup Qualifying matches. (Photo: AFP Services)
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – With a berth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup at stake, Maynor Figueroa is confident that Honduras will emerge victorious from its intercontinental playoff, first leg against visiting Australia.
The veteran defender and team captain arrived in the country on Monday as the Catrachos prepare for the key November 10 encounter, which will be played at the Estadio Olimpico Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.
“We are back here again in the place that we like so much, and I feel happy and thankful to God that we are given another chance,” Figueroa said. “We are going to have everything in our favor: our fans and a spectacular atmosphere, but more than that, we have to start to work in order to do things in the best way possible.”
When the current Central American champion lines up for the series opener, it will be a strange not to see Figueroa in the starting XI. The 34-year-old FC Dallas standout had started all of Honduras’ matches in CONCACAF qualifying for Russia 2018, but he is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
“I think that the one who plays there will undoubtedly do a great job and it’ll be my turn to be another fan and support ‘La H,’” expressed Figueroa about his potential replacement.
Regardless of who’s on the field, Figueroa stressed the importance of getting an initial win and keeping a clean sheet.
“At home, we have to score the largest quantity of goals and avoid getting scored on, so we have to be focused and not get anxious and desperate,” he finished. “We have to face this match in an intelligent manner.”
Figueroa and Honduras are seeking to qualify for a third consecutive World Cup and fourth overall.