PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - Honduras are World Cup 'Cinderellas' with an undeserved reputation for ugly play, coach Luis Fernando Suarez said on Saturday ahead of his side's opening Group E game against former champions France.
The Colombian expressed the hope that Brazilians would get behind the unfancied Central Americans and support them in Sunday's match in Porto Alegre. "I think we will be supported because we are like the Cinderella of our group and usually people support the smaller team. Human beings always support the weaker team," Suarez told reporters.
The coach could point to the example of neighbouring Costa Rica, who won new fans with their shock 3-1 win over former champions Uruguay in Group D. "I'd like to congratulate Costa Rica. It doesn't change anything in terms of the match tomorrow," he said when asked whether that result boosted hopes of another Central American upset.
Honduras have not won a game in either of their two previous World Cups in 1982 and 2010 and France are expected to keep it that way at the Beira Rio stadium. "We are very aware of the responsibility we have and I feel no extra pressure," continued Suarez. "We know the entire nation of Honduras is behind us, how others look at us, but we are aware of our strengths and we will put them on show tomorrow." Suarez dismissed suggestions that Honduras, who came in for criticism from England players after a rugged 'friendly' in Miami, were a violent side and described their style instead as "intense".
No player had been issued a red card in all the side's qualifying matches, he said. "That shows we play football and follow the rules. Some call our style a good style of aggression, others intense. We have the right attitude to face our matches with personality and with hunger. We want to win, that's what we want. But we can't be called violent."
Suarez did not divulge his lineup but said three attackers was a possibility. Asked about the threat from French striker Karim Benzema, he said he had no specific plans for any particular players and preferred to avoid individual marking. "We have prepared very well. We will defend when we have to defend and attack when we have to attack. You have to be very disciplined and if you want to win, you have to get the ball in the back of the net," he added.
"If somebody wants to beat us, they are going to have to try very hard. We are seen as a modest team, a small team, but we don't mind about that."