It’s the last-chance saloon for Honduras and their band of MLS stars in Wednesday’s Group E finale against Switzerland in Manaus. The only CONCACAF team yet to record a win in this World Cup could be the only one not to advance to the knockout rounds, pending the USMNT’s result Thursday.
Los Catrachos will need a miraculous performance against the Swiss: a victory by a large margin of goals and an Ecuador loss against France. Switzerland, meanwhile, are tied with Ecuador for the runner-up position with three points but they're down on goal differential, so they’ll be gunning for the best possible result.
GIVE IT ALL WE’VE GOT: Despite the long odds, Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suárez vowed that his team will give everything they have left against the Swiss. Even if Honduras fail to advance, getting their first win at the World Cup would be a feather in their cap.
YOU AGAIN? These teams met in their final group-stage match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, four years ago to the day. With both teams playing to advance that time as well, a scoreless draw resulted in their elimination.
BROKEN FACE: Swiss defender Steve von Bergen has seen the last of this World Cup after having to come off in the seventh minute of their 5-2 loss to France after taking an Olivier Giroud boot to the face. The high kick, which went unpunished during the game, resulted in a broken bone in von Bergen’s face.
CURSE LIFTED: Carlo Costly’s goal against Ecuador ended a 32-year scoring drought for Honduras at the World Cup. The 511-minute goal-less streak dated back to the 1982 tournament, and Costly said it lifted a great weight for the Hondurans.
“I was so happy when I scored that goal, because 32 years is a long time and a difficult barrier to overcome," Costly told FIFA.com. "That myth, that curse which has been hanging over us for so long, has been laid to rest now.”
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Carlo Costly, forward, Honduras – The lanky forward, no stranger to followers of CONCACAF, got Honduras off the scoring schneid with his goal against Ecuador. And who else but Los Catrachos’ fourth all-time leading scorer (32 goals)? He’ll need a bunch more if Honduras are to advance.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Granit Xhaka, midfielder, Switzerland – The 21-year-old Borussia Mönchengladbach star is one of Switzerland’s most promising young players. He scored his first World Cup goal against France and was one of the game’s most dangerous players.