2014 WORLD CUP SOCCER
Kickoff: Friday, 6:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Da Baixada – Curitiba, Brazil
Ecuador -158, Honduras +450, Tie +290
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over -135, Under +105)
Two teams desperate for a win meet in Group E play on Friday night when heavily favored Ecuador takes on Honduras.
These Latin American clubs are both coming off losses in their World Cup opener, as Ecuador fell 2-1 to Switzerland in extra time, while Honduras was steamrolled 3-0 by France. Both countries know that a loss on Friday will likely end all hopes of competing in the single-elimination knockout round.
Honduras will once again be a huge underdog, especially with key midfielder Wilson Palacios unable to play after picking up two yellow cards in the first half versus France in a game they were completely dominated. Honduras was outshot 20-4, including 10-2 in shots on goal, while France had possession 63% of the time and held an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks. However, France scored on a penalty kick at the 45-minute mark and got a lucky own goal three minutes later, and didn't score a typical goal until 72 minutes in. All three tallies occurred after Palacios was sent off. Honduras will look to MLS star Boniek Garcia to control the midfield in this contest, and produce a goal for his country that hasn't scored in the World Cup since 1982, getting blanked in five straight matches in this tournament that occurs every four years. But Honduras is a disciplined defensive team that is simply looking for a 1-0 victory.
Ecuador knows it must get the ball on the feet of its two speedsters, midfielders Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia to create more chances for the offense. Although they didn't trail versus Switzerland until the 93rd minute when Haris Seferovic broke their hearts with a game-winning goal, the Swiss still held the advantage over Ecuador in most categories, including total shots (18-10), shots on goal (12-6), corner kicks (8-5) and most importantly, time of possession (56% to 44%). Ecuador also needs to be more disciplined, as it committed 15 fouls (Switzerland had 9) and was called for offsides on four occasions. Honduras won't open themselves up to a counter-attack as much as Switzerland did, so Ecuador needs to make the most of whatever chances it gets.