Honduras Winning No Fans

Honduras’ blend of high physicality and dirty tackling has put them on a collision course with the footballing world.

This may not worry Honduras as they seem to enjoy the odd collision, but for the rest of the teams in the tournament it is a dangerous prospect to encounter.

Neutrals love to support an underdog, but it is hard to get behind one that is stamping on opposition players, kicking the world class talents they are up against, and generally behaving rather rabid.

If anyone watched the Honduras – France game, then you will know what I am talking about.

There could quite easily have been three, or even four red cards, for the Hondurans. And that is no exaggeration. The late challenges, the high feet, the two footed scything tackles; it all seemed more like an ill disciplined Sunday league game than a World Cup match.

Although Paul Pogba’s kick out at Wilson Palacios was petulant, Palacios’ repeated stamping on Pogba was bordering on GBH. He should have been given a straight red there and then, and he would have had no complaints.

Somehow Palacios stayed on. However, his time on the pitch was soon up, as just a couple of minutes later he once again chose to assault Pogba, this time in the penalty area, earning himself a second yellow card, and gifting France with a penalty.

I would hope that Honduras realise their brand of play is anti-football, and soon change their ways, but I doubt this will be the case.

If anything, the sending off of their general in central midfield, the defeat at the hands of France, and the manufactured controversy surrounding the second French goal, will only make them dig in, and come out fighting even more.

The brand of football that Honduras play is doing nobody any favours. They may be a very proud footballing nation, but kicking the opposition black and blue is not going to earn you any respect from your peers.

As I stated, it is anti-football, and very unfortunate as I am sure the majority of the viewers would love to see an upset, and another David defeats Goliath moment. This World Cup has already seen Costa Rica do the impossible, and such results are fantastic for fans of the game, and the tournament as a whole.

Costa Rica could have taken the Honduras approach to things if they had wanted. But they chose not to. They played with the freedom that comes with having no expectations and pressure. They played without fear, and with confidence and style.

Rather than physically attacking the opposition players in order to gain an advantage, they respected their opponents and decided to participate in a football match, instead of a re-enactment of Karate Kid.

With their style and passion, Costa Rica undoubtedly won over a few fans the night they defeated Uruguay. I am sure that England fans in particular thoroughly enjoyed their performance.

It is as hard to defend the Hondurans tactics, as it is hard to understand the logic. If the World Cup is the greatest footballing event on earth, then surely a team would want to use that stage to leave a legacy and make a positive impact.

Realistically they stand next to no chance of winning the tournament so why not tell your players to enjoy the experience, to showcase their talents and play with freedom and passion.

This may be the only World Cup many of these players will experience, and it would be a shame for them, and for the nation as a whole, that all they will be remembered for is kicking the opposition black and blue.

The dress rehearsal for this World Cup, the Confederations Cup, saw the world fall in love with Tahiti. Not because they won the tournament, not because they fouled Neymar and co at every opportunity, but because they played positive football, fuelled by intense passion.

Despite conceding 24 goals in 3 games, and finishing bottom of their group without a point, there was nothing but love for Tahiti, its players and their fans.

I am sure that even the most ardent Nigeria fan still clapped and cheered when Tahiti’s only goal of the tournament was scored against them. The penalty save against Uruguay was also another wonderful moment, the team celebrating as if they had won the game, and the stadium erupting in delight.

Never before, and never again, will I recommend that any football team look at Tahiti and copy their style of play, but if you put aside the poor quality football, and the woeful defending, there may be a message in there that all teams could benefit from. Honduras could definitely do with taking a page from their book.

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This article was originally published on TitanBet on 16th June. 

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