Thursday, July 20, 2017

Haiti v Honduras: Impressive Islanders deserve respect

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Jul 2015

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Impressive Haiti could still qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals and should take plenty of confidence into their final group game against Honduras.

Despite sitting last in Group A heading into the final round of group fixtures, Haiti could still finish second and qualify automatically for the last eight and, based on their form, that outcome deserves to be rated at least a 50-50 prospect.

Haiti fought back to draw 1-1 with 2013 Gold Cup finalists Panama in their opening match and they were perhaps unlucky to lose 1-0 to hosts and reigning champions United States on Friday.

Marc Collat’s Haiti dominated the highly fancied home side, finishing the game with 15 shots to five, although USA skipper Clint Dempsey secured victory with a second-half strike.

“Huge compliment to Haiti for how they played this game,” USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann said afterwards, according to Yahoo.com.

“It was a very tense game that could have changed any second.”

Collat’s post-match comments underlined how well Haiti had played: “We’re disappointed. I think over the 90 minutes we could have hoped for more.

“The Americans created fewer chances than we did but they were more effective.”

While Haiti were 45 positions adrift of the USA (34th) in the FIFA rankings, the tiny Caribbean nation sit one spot ahead of Honduras, as they had only lost three games between the 2013 and 2015 Gold Cups.

It should give Haiti belief that they can defeat Honduras and potentially finish second in Group B.

Haiti (1 point, -1 goal difference) sit behind third-placed Honduras (1, -1) on goals scored, with Panama (2, +0) in second.

If Haiti defeat Honduras – something they have not done since 2007 – they will qualify for the last-eight of the Gold Cup for the third time in their history.

Honduras – for their part – have not been eliminated at the group stage of CONCACAF’s premier event since 2003, while they have reached the semi-finals in four of the past five editions, including the last three.

USA defeated Honduras 2-1 to begin the Gold Cup, while the Central Americans had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Panama on Friday.

Jorge Luis Pinto’s team have not won in five games.

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