Honduras player says World Cup is dream come true

For Honduras defender Maynor Figueroa, playing in the Central

American country’s second World Cup is a “dream come true,” with

the side preparing for its opening match against Chile.

Honduras’ only other appearance at the tournament was in

1982.

The squad landed in Nelspruit on Monday morning and trained at a

nearby stadium, two days before the Group H match against Chile on

Wednesday.

“We’re very close now,” Figueroa said. “We’re about to make

our dream come true.”

Defender Sergio Mendoza said the nation would be focused on

proving pundits wrong about how far Honduras can go.

“You can’t say one team is favorite … we all deserve

respect,” he said.

Honduras has fitness concerns over striker David Suazo and

midfielder Wilson Palacios. Both players have right thigh muscle

injuries.

Palacios looks set to be fit for Wednesday’s match, but Suazo’s

problem is said to be more serious.

Both players stretched and jogged with the rest of the squad and

did ball work between themselves during the 20 minutes of the

session open to the media.

Coach Reinaldo Rueda is expected to give a better idea of what

his team will look like at a pre-match news conference Tuesday.

Figueroa said it was important to make the most of the two days

the team has before kick off.

“We’ve got to stay calm, take advantage of these two days to

work as hard as possible and realize that it’s going to be

difficult, but not impossible,” he said.

Figueroa said the Honduras team had spent “several weeks”

analyzing the Chilean side, saying the South Americans were “a

very good national team”.

Mendoza, who returned from a one-year doping ban just in time to

make Rueda’s squad, refused to pick out individual Chile players to

watch out for.

“I’m more interested in the team as a whole,” he said. “They

always play well as a team.”

Honduras also faces Spain and Switzerland in later Group H

matches.