They may be rank outsiders, but Honduras can take heart from their previous World Cup appearance. Back in 1982 they were the least-fancied team in their group but held hosts Spain to a 1-1 draw, having led 1-0 at half-time. A draw against Northern Ireland followed and then an unlucky 1-0 loss to Yugoslavia, which saw them eliminated with their heads held high.
Now, 28 years on, they find themselves in a group with Spain again. The meeting in Johannesburg on 21 June is unlikely to produce another draw but Honduras could still make an impact in Group H. Many of their squad play abroad which, according to their Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda, has given the players added confidence and belief in their ability to ruffle some feathers in South Africa.
Aim: The Honduras players talk of reaching the second round. In a group featuring World Cup favourites Spain, they will probably need to beat Chile in their opening game to have any chance.
THREE KEY PLAYERS
AMADO GUEVARA Honduras' much-travelled record cap holder, Guevara used to be an attacking midfielder but now tends to play deep and get moves underway. Known as 'El Lobo' (The Wolf), he has a fiery reputation and has served suspensions for offences including pushing a referee and slapping an opponent.
WILSON PALACIOS Honduras' star player has lived up to his billing with impressive performances for club and country. Still only 25 and with 68 caps to his name, the Spurs midfielder was first brought to England by Arsene Wenger, who recommended him to then Wigan boss Steve Bruce after a trial with Arsenal.
CARLOS PAVON Honduras' all-time leading scorer, who won his first cap in 1993, is enjoying a new lease of life under coach Reinaldo Rueda. Recalled after a long absence at the start of 2009, Pavon came off the bench to score in a friendly victory against Chile and went on to score seven goals in nine qualifiers.
REINALDO RUEDA The Colombian was granted Honduran citizenship in April in recognition of his achievement in steering the country to only their second World Cup. Rueda, who previously coached Colombia, said he inherited a Honduras side full of "scepticism, mistrust, and a lack of respect" in 2007. He set out to change attitudes among the players and supporters by breaking down the regional rivalries and promoting unity. In March, he denied threatening to quit in a row over unpaid bonuses.
ADOPT THEM BECAUSE...
Your help could be rewarded. The United States' Jonathan Bornstein - whose last-gasp goal against Costa Rica ensured Honduras qualified - has been offered an all-expenses-paid trip to the resort area Islas de la Bahia by the Honduran president.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Honduras' World Cup qualifying highlights
W 4-0 Puerto Rico (H) D 2-2 Puerto Rico (A) L 2-1 Mexico (A) W 2-0 Jamaica (H) W 3-1 Canada (H) W 1-0 Jamaica (A) W 1-0 Mexico (H) W 4-1 Nicaragua (H) L 2-0 Costa Rica (A) D 1-1 Trinidad (A) W 3-1 Mexico (H) L 2-1 USA (A) W 1-0 El Salvador (H) W 4-0 Costa Rica (H) W 4-1 Trinidad (H) L 1-0 Mexico (A) L 3-2 USA (H) W 1-0 El Salvador (A) Qualified in third place in Concacaf standings
WORLD CUP BEST
1982: Held Spain to a 1-1 draw on their World Cup debut, and also shared the points with group winners Northern Ireland, but still finished bottom of a tight group.
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