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Jan 28, 2022 at 1.05am UK at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano
0 - 2

Mejia (29'), Rodriguez (60'), Quaye (68')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Maldonado (10' og.), David (73')
Fraser (45+1'), Hutchinson (62'), Cavallini (84')

Preview: Honduras vs. Canada - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Honduras vs. Canada - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - North Central America clash between Honduras and Canada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

It will be first versus worst at Olimpico Metropolitano on Thursday as Canada have a chance to maintain their place on top of the CONCACAF standings of World Cup 2022 qualifying when they battle Honduras in San Pedro.

La H have lost their last four qualifiers and are bottom of the table with three points, while the Canucks took care of business on their home field, defeating Costa Rica and Mexico in the previous window.

Match preview

It is becoming dangerously close to do-or-die time for the Hondurans, who need to pick up some points fast to remain in the hunt for a place in Qatar this November.

A series of shaky matches in the early going have put this veteran group in a deep hole, 11 points behind the Mexicans for a guaranteed place at the World Cup, and trailing Panama by the same number of points to make it to a playoff.

After going winless in their first six games in the Octagon, where they were outscored by a 9-2 margin, Fabian Coito was dismissed, with the experienced Hernan Dario Gomez now at the helm.

The 65-year-old is one of only three coaches that has guided three different sides to the FIFA World Cup (Colombia, Ecuador and Panama), with the other two being Bora Milutinovic and Carlos Alberto Parreira.

Since the Colombian has taken charge, Los Catrachos have shown more quality in the final third with four goals in their last three matches in all competitions, but the results remain the same as they have dropped all three of their games played under their new boss (against Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia) by a single goal.

Even though they only had the ball for 34% of their previous match against the Canadians back in September, it was perhaps their best performance of this qualifying stage, going ahead late in the first half and firing six shots on target over the 90 minutes, ultimately settling for a 1-1 draw.

The further along their matches go, it seems as though fatigue tends to get the better of this team, who have conceded 15 goals in the Octagon thus far, 12 of which have come in the second half, including three in eight minutes in their previous match played in San Pedro against the Panamanians.

Canada come into this encounter feeling pretty good about themselves, unbeaten after eight qualifying fixtures, as they took advantage of the frigid conditions in Edmonton back in November, while also benefiting from some poor goalkeeping which helped them move a point above the United States in their quest to make the finals for the first time since 1986.

What John Herdman has achieved as manager of this team is impressive, but the man who coached the Canadian women to the World Cup in their own backyard in 2015 will have a big challenge ahead of him, with Alphonso Davies unavailable because of a minor heart muscle issue.

Losing arguably the best wing-back in the world is without a doubt a big blow for The Canucks, who have had their hands full when playing away to Honduras, a side that have knocked them out of the past two World Cup qualifying campaigns, including an 8-1 thrashing which ended Canada's dream of potentially making the 2014 finals, in a game that took place at the same stadium that will host this match on Thursday.

One area that Herdman has to be pleased with is the fact that his team have come out a lot more aggressively from the opening whistle in their previous two qualifiers, scoring first each time, after conceding the opener in four of their first six matches played in this round.

Points away from home are precious and can make the difference between qualifying or not, but even though they have earned draws at the Azteca, the United States and Jamaica, these players along with their coach demand a lot from one another, and they were not pleased with any of those results.

Four of their final six qualifying fixtures will be away from home, in places that they have struggled to win, so while many pundits are pencilling them in for Qatar, The Canucks are by no means there yet.

With the humid conditions that we are likely to see in San Pedro, in addition to some of the heartache that Canada have experienced in the Central American republic, it will be interesting to see whether Herdman remains aggressive and tries to stretch the field out wide against a much older Honduran team, or if he chooses to play conservatively, knowing that they are in a comfortable position in the standings.

Honduras World Cup Qualifying - North Central America form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Honduras form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Canada World Cup Qualifying - North Central America form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

CF Montreal striker Romell Quioto, who led his Canadian club in scoring last year with eight strikes, put home the only goal for Los Catrachos in their defeat to Costa Rica in November, while Gomez will be counting on more from Alberth Elis, who has tallied seven times in Ligue 1 for Bordeaux and also scored the opener in their 3-2 defeat to the Panamanians.

Boniek Garcia will have to wait until the final qualifying window for a chance to move into third all-time in international caps for Honduras as he was not selected for this fixture, meaning that he will remain one appearance behind Noel Valladares, while he still has a long way to go to catch captain Maynor Figueroa, who is first with 179 caps.

The Hondurans had a very different looking starting lineup in their friendly against Columbia earlier this month, compared to the team that started their previous qualifier, as the new faces included Denil Maldonado, Diego Rodriguez, Juan Delgado, Ivan Lopez, Kervin Arriaga, Jorge Alvarez and Eddie Hernandez.

Alphonso Davies is not the only significant loss for Canada heading into this encounter, as midfielder Stephen Eustaquio tested positive for COVID and will not be available for this match.

The Canucks set many national team records last year, including Atiba Hutchinson becoming the most capped Canadian player, collecting his 90th appearance in their previous match against Mexico to surpass Julian de Guzman, Junior Hoilett is now the all-time leader in assists for this team with 14 and is two goals shy of Ali Gerba for ninth all-time, while Cyle Larin drew even with Dwayne De Rosario for the most goals ever scored for Les Rouges, notching a brace in their 2-1 victory over the Mexicans.

Jonathan David is second in Ligue 1 scoring with the Lille striker firing home 12 goals domestically, one fewer than Wissam Ben Yedder of Monaco, and he is one goal shy of Dale Mitchell and John Catliff for third all-time for Canada, while Tajon Buchanan made his second domestic appearance for Club Brugge on Sunday, collecting his first assist for the defending Belgian champions, setting up the equaliser by Bas Dost.

Honduras possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Elvir, Figueroa, Maldonado, Vargas; Moya, Acosta, Mejia, Arriaga; Elis, Quioto

Canada possible starting lineup:
Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Hutchinson, Osorio, Hoilett; Buchanan, Larin, David

We say: Honduras 0-0 Canada

The Canadians have not beaten La H in Honduras since 1985, and while playing without Davies will be tough, not having Eustaquio is arguably even more significant, as the man currently on loan at FC Porto has done a marvellous job of managing games for this team.

Honduras have played better with their new manager, but it seems as though father time has got the better of this group, and with the warm climate in Central America, it could be a difficult match for the game breakers of each unit to show their quality.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:curl

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