Catracho's World Cup dreams come true after 28 years

10:54, May 15, 2010      

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The Honduran national soccer team, nicknamed Catrachos, was built in 1951. They are a rising team in CONCACAF, an ascent that started with their third place finish in the 2001 Copa America, where they were a late invitee, due to a withdrawal by Argentina one day prior to kickoff.

In October 2009, they confirmed qualification to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which will be their first appearance in the competition since 1982.

The Catrachos, powerful and fast-moving, left it late to book passage to their first FIFA World Cup since Spain 1982. After an impressive campaign that saw them beat mighty Mexico, Reinaldo Rueda's men seemed to stumble at the final hurdle, setting up a tense final day in the hexagonal.

Losing to the Americans at home in their penultimate match, a goal from veteran forward Carlos Pavon in a 1-0 win in El Salvador, combined with a late collapse by Costa Rica in the United States, sent the Catrachos back to the promised land.

In this soccer-mad Central American country - suffering its fair share of political instability - the win was a tonic, and richly deserved.

The dynamic play of Amado Guevara, Wilson Palacios and Pavon could well make the Hondurans a team to watch in the finals.

Honduras is in group H in the World Cup and will face Chile on June 16, Spain on June 21 and Switzerland on June 26.

Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda

Reinaldo Rueda was born February 3, 1957 in Cali of Colombia, he holds a physical education degree. Colonia University of Germany gave him his masters degree. He has been a university professor and has taught several courses at the Colombian National Coaches School.

After a disastrous start to 2006 World Cup qualifying, (only 1 point after 5 games) the Colombian Football Federation promoted Rueda to head coach. Colombia failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, but Rueda made a big impact. The team would have finished near last on the CONMEBOL qualification but ended up in sixth place.

Rueda and his technical team, all Colombians, began working with the Honduran team in 2007, after Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic left this team.In the hands of Rueda, Honduras has made rapid and brilliant progress.

In December 2009, Rueda was named as the Person of the Year in Honduras and Colombia, the same year the media named him "Best National Technician of the Year."

Star Players: David Suazo

Oscar David Suazo Velazquez, born November 5, 1979 in San Pedro Sula, is a striker for Serie A side Genoa on loan from Internazionale.

David Suazo took his first steps at Olimpia Reservas and later went on to play at the Liga Bancaria. After his participation in 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship held at Nigeria, he was acquired by domestic club team Olimpia.

Suazo joined Cagliari and Serie A for the 1999-2000 season. In his first season with the team, he scored one goal in 13 appearances. In the 2004-05 season at Serie A, Suazo scored seven goals in 22 matches. Suazo's scoring proved vital in helping Cagliari avoid relegation and impressed top clubs across Europe despite only scoring six goals. In 2006, he became a starter for Cagliari and scored 22 goals in the Serie A. For his play that season Suazo was honored with the Serie A award for Best Foreign Player, which he shared with Brazilian playmaker Kaka.

In June 2007, Suazo took the contract offer from Inter Milan. He scored his first goal against Genoa C.F.C. and made a total of eight goals throughout his first season with the Nerazzurri.

Suazo has appeared with the Honduran team in the CONCACAF 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and has scored three goals. Due to a torn meniscus, he has missed most of Round 4 of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

Source: Xinhua


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