Defender Maynor Figueroa says Honduras can rise to the challenge of facing Spain in their second FIFA World Cup™ match on Monday.
The central American side tackle the European champions at Johannesburg's Ellis Park in a Group H match neither can afford to lose. Honduras were outplayed as they went down 1-0 to Chile in Nelspruit on Wednesday but the group was blown wide open when Switzerland later beat Spain. Figueroa feels tackling the Spanish is now just the challenge his team-mates need and optimism still abounds.
The 27-year-old Wigan player said: "This is the beginning, against big rivals, Honduras always grow. The morale of the team is good, I think it is nothing more than the beginning, knowing that against Spain it will be a completely different game. We have to continue working, believing in ourselves – defeats are what give the most strength to the player."
Honduras' preparations for their opener were hampered by injuries to key players. Midfielder Wilson Palacios proved his fitness to play but key striker David Suazo failed to feature and playmaker Julio Cesar de Leon was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Figueroa added: "It's obvious we have been affected by injuries to team-mates.
"During training you do specific work counting on players who from one day to the next are out. When you lose there are always doubts but we have to be brave and go out there with our heads held high, knowing that in football there are three results. We got the least desired one against Chile but I am completely grateful to God for allowing me to play this game. There are no words to describe what you feel when you are in the match. I hope to continue having the opportunity to play more games."