Hondurans cling to small glimmer of hope

JOHANNESBURG Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:03pm IST

Honduras' national soccer head coach Reinaldo Rueda listens to a journalist's questions during a news conference at his hotel in Johannesburg June 18, 2010. Honduras will play against Spain on June 21. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Honduras' national soccer head coach Reinaldo Rueda listens to a journalist's questions during a news conference at his hotel in Johannesburg June 18, 2010. Honduras will play against Spain on June 21.

Credit: Reuters/Henry Romero

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Honduras's dreams of progressing in the World Cup are all but over following their 2-0 defeat by Spain, but the Central Americans are still clinging to a small glimmer of hope

Honduras, who qualified for the finals by the skin of their teeth, knew Monday's Group H game with Spain would be tough and they needed a draw to have any realistic chance of advancing to the second round.

Coach Reinaldo Rueda conceded that their game plan was laid to waste by the Spaniards' masterful team play and the brilliance of individual players such as man of the match David Villa, who scored both goals.

"We faced a team who were far superior to us," Rueda told reporters after the game at Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium.

"They surprised us with that goal, that individual move by David Villa very early on (and) I think we lacked conviction in our play to try to offset and overcome this rival."

The Catrachos, considered one of the tournament's weaker squads, last qualified for the World Cup in 1982 and their narrow qualification lightened the mood in the impoverished nation at the height of a deep political crisis last year.

Realistic coach Rueda and his team will want to salvage some pride when they meet Switzerland on Friday in Bloemfontein. The Hondurans lost 1-0 to Chile in their opener.

"It's going to be a different match, every single game is different. Switzerland are a great national squad and we have to be very strong in order to get over defeats and get a few points," said Rueda, a Colombian who is hugely popular in Honduras.

Striker David Suazo, who recovered from a muscle injury to make Monday's starting line-up, vowed to give it his all on Friday.

"There's still hope, even if it's minimal, and we plan to take advantage of that glimmer of hope in the final game," he told reporters.

(Editing by Michael Holden)

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