Mexico, Honduras renew rivalry Thursday

A tense moment (above) during the World Cup qualifier between Honduras (white jersey) and host Mexico on September 6, 2013, at the Estadio Azteca.

TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico – It may not be a World Cup Qualifying encounter, but it will be a match between two World Cup teams, when Mexico hosts Honduras in an international friendly on Thursday at the Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna.

The match sets up as being significant for two reasons: a) Mexico will be playing its first match at home since an impressive World Cup campaign in Brazil, and b) Honduras will be looking to get back on track after a fifth-place finish at last month’s Central American Cup.

The CONCACAF rivals have met on 30 previous occasions with the Mexicans holding an 18-6 advantage in wins.

Honduras head coach Hernan Medford was named to the post in late July, following Luis Fernando Suarez’s post-Brazil 2014 departure.  He is excited for the challenge in just his fifth match on the Catracho sideline.

"These games are motivators,” said the 46-year-old Costa Rican, who scored three goals against Mexico during his international career.  “We’re going to face a team like Mexico that is having a great time and both teams will look to win.

"The spirit of the players is huge and fills me with confidence that we will play well against a good team like Mexico.”

The Hondurans labored at the Central American Cup, posting two wins in four games and defeating Nicaragua 1-0 in the match for fifth place just to reach a playoff against a to-be-determined Caribbean team for the last spot in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Conversely, Mexico remains on a high following a World Cup performance that saw it reach the round of 16 for a sixth straight time.  Last month, the Tricolor played a pair of friendlies in the United States, drawing with Chile (0-0) and defeating Bolivia (1-0).

The opportunity to square off against Honduras and keep a close eye on his CONCACAF competition was appealing to head coach Miguel Herrera.

"They are rivals we have to be watching what they are doing,” he said.  “These are games where you might not have much to gain and everything to lose.  And that's what we want to see, that the team is ready for these duties.”

Honduras is unbeaten in four of its last six games (3-1-2) against six-time CONCACAF Gold Cup champion, posting a 2-1 win on the road in their last meeting on September 6, 2013, at the Estadio Azteca.  Less than 24 hours later, Mexico parted ways with head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre.