Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) was named head coach of Honduras in December 2014 . (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – It is not necessarily a “must-win” match for either host Honduras or Canada on Friday, but when they in a fourth-round World Cup qualifier, the team that comes away with three points will hold a big advantage heading into Tuesday’s Group A finals.
With Mexico (4W-0D-0L, 4 points) having previously claimed the first of the group’s two places in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, three sides are battling for the other spot. Honduras (1-1-2, 4) currently has a tenuous hold on second place, topping Canada (1-1-2, 4) only on goal difference (-1 to -4). Fourth-place El Salvador (0-2-2, 2) – to remain in contention -- needs at least a draw against visiting Mexico and hope that the Honduras-Canada match ends without a winner.
Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto, who guided Costa Rica to the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals, says that his side is focused on a single objective: beating Canada at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
“The first thing is to win and we will look at how the match unfolds later,” said the 63-year-old Colombian. “It (Canada) isn’t an easy team. It is to be respected. Hopefully, we can score goals, but it is good to win. God willing that the weather and the heat from the fans help us and we can resolve the match quickly.”
Pinto stressed emphasized that avoiding defeat against Canada is key, especially since the Catrachos’ last match will be at Mexico
“We would say that we have to assure a good result in all senses, winning, drawing, not allowing goals in any way in order to go to the Azteca to nail down the result if it comes down to goal difference,” Pinto finished.
In their first meeting last November, Canada topped Honduras, 1-0, on a Cyle Larin goal. However, the last time that they squared off in a World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula, Honduras triumphed, 8-1, on October 16, 2012.