Reeling Honduras loses to Israel; US tops Turkey: Mexico takes pyrrhic victory
A look at the three other teams who qualified for the World Cup from Costa Rica’s CONCACAF region:
HOUSTON, Texas — World Cup-bound Honduras suffered a second deflating friendly defeat in four days on Sunday as they were beaten 4-2 by Israel.
Honduras’ defense struggled all night and Israel — who did not qualify for the World Cup — made the most of the openings they were offered.
Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suarez made four changes at halftime seeking to turn things around after the team had fallen behind 1-0. Roger Espinoza woke the Catrachos with a 47th minute equalizer. But three second half goals furthered Honduras’ misery.
Suarez acknowledged on Thursday after a 2-0 friendly loss in Washington to Turkey — who also failed to secure a World Cup berth — that his team had plenty of work to do.
Honduras’ next tune-up promises to offer an even tougher challenge as they take on England at Miami on Saturday.
The Central American side, seeking a first World Cup victory after qualifying for the third time, open their World Cup finals campaign against France on June 15, and will also face Ecuador and Switzerland in Group E.
U.S. downs Turkey
HARRISON, New Jersey — The United States continued their World Cup preparations with a 2-1 triumph over Turkey on Sunday.
German-born Fabien Johnson, one of U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s army of young, dual-citizenship footballers, made his first strike for the Stars and Stripes an impressive one, combining with U.S. veteran Michael Bradley for a superb 26th-minute goal that gave the United States a 1-0 lead.
American veteran Clint Dempsey exploited a lapse in the Turkish defense to double the score in the 52nd minute.
The match was the United States’ second friendly since Klinsmann announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil — shocking many by the omission of all-time leading US scorer Landon Donovan.
They defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 last Tuesday and will take on Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida, next Saturday before departing for Brazil.
The United States are drawn in Group G along with Ghana, who reached the quarter-finals in the 2010 edition, Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal and one of the favorites for the trophy — Klinsmann’s native Germany.
Turkey didn’t qualify for the World Cup, but Klinsmann said they were a talented side that offered a good “benchmark” for his team heading into the global football showcase.
Mexico dominates Ecuador, but loses key player
DALLAS, Texas — Midfielder Luis Montes will not compete for Mexico at the World Cup in Brazil after breaking his fibula and tibia during a 3-1 victory over Ecuador in a friendly on Saturday. Montes had just scored a golazo that put Mexico in front two minutes earlier when he collided with Ecuador’s Segundo Castillo during a race for a loose ball.
Montes was carted off in obvious pain on a stretcher in front of the pro-Mexican crowd of almost 85,000 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
It is a big blow for Mexico who are using this and other games over the next couple of weeks as a tune up to the 2014 World Cup. Mexico’s next international friendly is Tuesday against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Chicago. They play Portugal on Friday.
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