Honduras looking forward to heat in Manaus
MANAUS, Brazil (AP) If there is one team looking forward to playing in the hot and humid conditions of the Amazon rainforest, it's Honduras.
The Central American country has a similar climate to Manaus, so the players view Wednesday's World Cup match against Switzerland at the Arena da Amazonia as a more of a reward than a curse.
''We're used to it. The temperature is not a problem for us,'' Honduras defender Juan Carlos Garcia said Tuesday. ''We will, of course, benefit from it.''
Honduras is so comfortable in the heat and humidity that the team even plays qualifying matches under similar conditions in San Pedro Sula to put opposing teams at a disadvantage.
It clearly helped, since the Central Americans are in Brazil at their third World Cup. But Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said the steamy weather shouldn't be a problem for either team.
''People just complain too much, that's my opinion. But this is normal in any tournament,'' Suarez said. ''You don't win a match or lose a match because of conditions or weather. A professional football player has to be ready for all conditions.''
The game will start at 4 p.m. local time, two hours earlier than the previous three World Cup matches in Manaus. At that time of day, some of the field is still exposed to the sun.
Honduras needs to beat Switzerland to have any chance of advancing to the second round, and needs to win big.
The team lost its opening two matches, but could remain in the tournament if France beats Ecuador in the other Group E match and Honduras scores enough against Switzerland to overcome a poor goal differential.
''Yes, it's difficult. It's a bit more complicated,'' Suarez said. ''But we're not giving in. No way.''
Although the team started with a 3-0 loss to France, Honduras scored a goal in the second match, a 2-1 loss to Ecuador. Carlo Costly was the man who finally gave Honduras another World Cup goal, ending a drought that dated back to the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
Honduras will need plenty more on Wednesday.
France has six points and is favored to take one of the second-round spots from the group, while Ecuador and Switzerland each have three points. So a Honduras win combined with another win for France will give the Hondurans a shot at advancing for the first time.
A loss or a draw, however, means instant elimination regardless of the result in the other match.
''Of course there is a possibility miracles can happen, but everything depends on what we're going to do on the pitch,'' Suarez said. ''We know that we also depend on another team's result.
''The possibility does exist.''