2012 Olympics Preview: Spain - Honduras

Ryan Benson
2012 Olympics Preview: Spain - Honduras


De Gea
Azpilicueta, Dominguez, Botia, Alba
Ander, Martinez
Mata, Isco, Muniain
Leveron, Velasquez, Lopez, Figueroa

Peralta, Martinez
Mejia, Espinoza, Najar

Following his team’s shock 1-0 defeat to Japan on Thursday, Spain coach Luis Milla will likely ring the changes for the crucial tie against Honduras after slating his side’s performance in the loss.

Real Sociedad center back Inigo Martinez saw himself sent off in the Group C opener and will most likely be replaced by Sporting Gijon man Alberto Botia, while Cesar Azpilicueta could come in for Martin Montoya at right back.

Providing players pass fitness tests, Milla also looks set to make changes in midfield. Atletico Madrid’s Koke could be replaced by Ander Herrera, while the diminutive midfielder’s teammate at Athletic Bilbao – Iker Muniain – could start in place of Rodrigo after injury ruled him out of the Japan defeat.

In contrast to Spain, Honduras coach Luis Suarez was pleased with his team’s showing in its first match of the tournament, earning a 2-2 draw against a good Morocco side; therefore wholesale changes are not expected with no new injury problems reported.

Against the North Africans Suarez elected to swarm the midfield and play just the one striker, tactics that look certain to be chosen once again with Jerry Bengtson looking to build on his day one double.

  • Spain and Honduras have only ever met twice, both games taking place at the World Cup.

  • The two teams drew 1-1 at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, while Vicente Del Bosque’s La Furia Roja eased to a comfortable 2-0 win in 2010 on the way to their first ever World Cup triumph.

  • This is only the third time Honduras has played football at the Olympics, first appearing in Sydney in 2000, followed by Beijing eight years later.

  • Of its seven matches so far it has managed just one win, drawing a further two and losing the rest.

  • Spain’s previous Olympics record is impressive, winning the gold medal in 1992, followed by a quarterfinal finish in 1996 and losing in the final four years later to Cameroon. From 17 matches it has lost just three.

  • Honduras’ Maynor Figueroa (pictured right) has more than twice as many full international caps (88) as the entire Spanish squad (43).

  • Of the Honduras squad only Figueroa and Roger Espinoza were at the 2010 World Cup, while Juan Mata and Javi Martinez were part of Spain’s winning unit.

  • Eleven of the Spain squad that lifted the 2011 European Under-21 Championship trophy are in the party this summer.

  • Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez played a key role in the Under-21 victory, bagging five goals on the way to claiming the golden boot