Honduras can seal a place in next summer’s World Cup in Brazil on Friday by beating Costa Rica and hoping that other results go its way in the penultimate round of Concacaf qualifying. The Central American country is currently third in the Concacaf qualification standings with 11 points, three points above fourth-place Panama and fifth-place Mexico, which have 8 points each. The third-place country will automatically qualify for next summer’s finals, while the fourth-place country would face a two-leg playoff against Oceania winner New Zealand.
"It is going to be a difficult game, they are going to come in here wanting to beat us," defender Victor Bernardez said of Honduras’ match on Friday against Costa Rica. Both Costa Rica and the United States have already secured automatic qualification. "But for me, this is a great opportunity to give everything to qualify."
Meanwhile, Panama faces Mexico in Mexico City in a must-win game for both teams. Mexico coach Victor Vucetich has called-up veteran Rafael Marquez and newly naturalized Argentina-born midfielder Lucas Lobos for the crucial match. "We're not going to let this great opportunity escape us," said Panama coach Julio Cesar Dely Valdes.