England v Honduras preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:50

England v Honduras preview

Both nations are heading to Brazil this summer and will want to travel south from Florida with momentum building behind their quest for global glory.
England hit a bump in the road at the Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday, with an eventful contest against Ecuador posing a number of questions which head coach Hodgson must endeavour to answer.
A 2-2 draw was not the kind of result Hodgson was hoping for, even with a much-altered side, and an untimely injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a red card for Raheem Sterling will have only served to add to the sense of frustration.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is now sweating on his involvement at the World Cup finals, with a knee problem set to keep him sidelined for up to three weeks.
The Arsenal midfielder trained alone on Friday inside Barry University’s training base as he continues his rehabilitation, while the other 22 players, plus standby duo Jon Flanagan and John Stones, took to the field in sweltering conditions.
Sterling’s dismissal will not affect his involvement in Brazil, but he will be denied another opportunity to prove his worth ahead of an opening contest with Italy on June 14.
With that game in the sweltering Amazon conditions of Manaus now just a week away, Hodgson knows he must settle on a preferred starting XI and a tactical approach which will serve England well among world football’s elite.
Taking one last look at his troops on Saturday should help to bring the final pieces of that jigsaw together, with it important to get game time for intended starters while also offering opportunities for those on the fringes of the fold to stake a claim for a more prominent role.
Jack Wilshere will be hoping for another chance to impress, with the midfielder withdrawn against Ecuador due to cramp. Luke Shaw is also fit after suffering the same problem.
Phil Jones came through Wednesday’s clash unscathed, saying his shoulder “feels good” after fully recovering from an injury sustained in Manchester United’s final home game on May 6.
Honduras will be looking to head to the finals on a high, though their preparation up to now has been far from ideal.
Since booking their tickets to Brazil, three defeats have been suffered in five friendly outings – including back-to-back losses against Turkey and Israel.
Coach Luis Fernando Suarez has successfully guided Honduras to a second successive World Cup appearance. The 54-year-old Colombian will feel that bettering a one-point return from 2010 is a realistic target after being drawn in Group E alongside Switzerland, France and his former employers Ecuador.

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