Honduras vs. Ecuador, 2014 World Cup preview: Former Buckeye Espinoza aims to help Honduras to 1st World Cup win

Nothing went the way of Espinoza and Los Catrachos on Sunday - Paul Gilham

After a disastrous start to their 2014 World Cup in Porto Alegre on Sunday, Roger Espinoza and Honduras will be looking to climb out of the basement of Group E when they take on Ecuador later today.

Los Catrachos were thumped by France on Sunday 3-0, but they did hold tough for most of the first half. Honduras came unraveled when Wilson Palacios was shown his second yellow card of the match in the 43rd minute for taking down Paul Pogba in the penalty box. Karim Benzema converted the following penalty kick to send Les Blues into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

Things didn't take long to continue to spiral out of control early in the second half when a Benzema attempt led to keeper Noel Valledares failing to keep the ball out of the goal. There was a question at first on whether the goal should've counted, but after the first use of goal-line technology in the World Cup, France was give a 2-0. Benzema added another goal later in the second half to add insult-to-injury to Los Catrachos.

Ecuador didn't fare much better in their Sunday match in Brasilia against Switzerland, but instead of a little more of a half of pain like Honduras, El Tri was victimized by a late mad dash by the Swiss which resulted in a game-winner. After taking a early lead via a header from Enner Valencia in the 22nd minute.

Ecuador wasn't able to make that lead stick though, as Admit Mehmedi equalized just two minutes after being subbed on at halftime on a header from a corner kick. It was looking like the teams would take home a point each in the match but a turnover from Ecuador resulted in Haris Seferovic, another Swiss substitute, found the back of the net just 23 seconds from full time.

The two squads now have to put all that behind them if they have any dreams of coming from behind in Group E to try and earn a spot in the knockout stage. These are two teams that are no stranger to each other, mainly because the current coaches used to lead the other national team within the last 10 years. Luis Fernando Suarez helped Ecuador to the knockout stage of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Meanwhile Reinaldo Rueda was at the helm when Honduras made their first World Cup since 1982 when they qualified for the 2010 World Cup.

While there wasn't a lot for Honduras to like on Sunday, they must have a little optimism that they'll be able to take advantage of a Ecuadorian defense that showed some weaknesses in the second half against Switzerland. Los Catrachos weren't able to show much offensive spark against France, but a lot of that was because they spent the second half playing with only 10 men. In the contest Honduras was only able to put two shots on goal and only held possession for 37% of the match while earning no corners.

Honduras may be looking for their first win ever at the World Cup, but to get that they'll have to do something they have done at a World Cup since 1982. Score a goal. Suarez knows that he has to find a way to get something from Andy Major, Carlo Costly, and Jerry Bengtson. To have any success Honduras has to gain possession to allow former Buckeye Roger Espinoza, and Celtic standout Emilio Izaguirre to push forward and give some quality service into the penalty area.

Ecuador on the other hand has to not let the hangover from the loss of points of Sunday effect them, as after the early goal from Valencia, they didn't show much to inspire confidence from their supporters after that. El Tri needs a stronger contribution from Antonio Valencia than they got against Switzerland. If Ecuador can get Valencia and Jefferson Montero going on the wings they might be able to create the pressure that Honduras won't be able to match.

These two squads have never met in a cup competition, but have played 13 friendlies over the years, with eight of them ending in draws. A draw today doesn't do a lot really for either squad, with France and Switzerland already sitting three points clear. If either team is able to earn all three points though, it could create a lot of intrigue on the final day of Group E play next week. If the squad that earns all three points ends up being Honduras, a lot of history will be set by Los Catrachos in Curitiba.

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