It seems like we say it every time the Socceroos play, but this time around its truer than it has ever been, the upcoming tie against Honduras will arguably be one of the most important matchups in Australian soccer history and an absolute must win for the Aussies.
The Socceroos will travel to Honduras for the first leg of the home and away fixture this Saturday morning from 9am and will be looking to get off to a similar start as their last clash against Syria. The Aussies were able to hold on for a 1-1 draw in the away leg of that clash before winning the home leg 2-1 to advance to the inter confederation clash against Honduras.
Honduras’ path to the playoff was a thrilling one. Sitting in 5th place on the table needing a top four finish to advance, Honduras needed to cause a massive upset against Mexico, who were the top ranked team in the playoff and hope that either panama or United States lost their respective games. Ultimately the US choked and succumb to Trinidad and Tobago to forfeit their position which allowed Honduras to advance to the playoff.
Honduras showed some real fortitude in the CONCACAF qualifications, especially against opponents who are ranked much higher than Australia in the FIFA rankings. South American football is just better than Asian, period, so while they might not be a well known football country, they will definitely be a massive test for the Aussies.
There are a few big possible squad changes, both good and bad, for the Socceroos in the lead up. Star striker Tim Cahill went down with an ankle injury in Melbourne City’s match against Sydney FC last weekend. While he has made the trip to Honduras, there are still doubts over whether he will start, come off the bench or be rested all together.
The positive is that holding midfielder Mile Jedinak returns to the squad from injury. He should add real stability to the midfield, especially with the absence of Mark Milligan, who will miss the game through suspension.
Honduras have also welcomed back a key player from injury in Eddie Hernandez. The powerful striker recovered from a fractured cheekbone just in time for the clash and should give the Socceroos some problems at the back.
Tough game to call here, Honduras are very much an unknown quantity but from all reports they play a really rough style of game, which might have worked against some South American teams that rely on skill and finesse, but against the Aussies that won’t fly.
The Aussies will, however, play a very defensive style of game in this opening away leg. They definitely won’t want to be chasing a deficit going into their home leg so we think another away draw is the best bet here.
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