Honduras’ association with the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament is a relatively short one. The Central American nation made their Games debut at Sydney 2000 as CONCACAF champions. Coached by Ramon Madariaga, Los Catrachos went out in the first round Down Under but not before collecting four points. Returning to the Olympic scene at Beijing 2008 after once again winning the regional crown, they endured the same fate, this time without winning a single point.
Recovering from that disappointment, the Hondurans performed admirably in the qualifiers once more. Drawn into Group A of the CONCACAF U-23 Men’s Championship, they overcame Panama 3-1 and Trinidad and Tobago 2-0, but were on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against Mexico. Squeezing past El Salvador 3-2 in the semis to book their ticket to London, the Hondurans took the Mexicans all the way to extra time in the final before going down 2-1.
If the tenacity they showed in that second meeting with El Tri is anything to go by, Honduras could be a force to be reckoned with in London. Coach Luis Fernando Suarez certainly believes that is the case: “Honduras are showing what they’re capable of these days. That’s why we reached the last World Cup. We’ve been doing things really well lately and to make the Olympic Games, where there are only 16 teams, is a big achievement whichever way you look at it.”
Honduras reached the Olympics for the third time in their history after winning three of their qualifiers at the CONCACAF Championships and losing two, with nine goals for and eight against. With three goals each, Roger Rojas and Eddie Hernandez were their leading marksmen at the competition.