FIFA World Cup Preview: Honduras v Ecuador
By Football News
The coaches of Ecuador and Honduras will come up against their former employers when the sides meet in the FIFA World Cup on Friday.
Ecuador boss Reinaldo Rueda led Honduras to the previous World Cup in South Africa, while Luis Fernando Suarez was in charge of Ecuador when they played at the 2006 finals.
The two nations meet in Group E having failed to pick up any points from their opening Group E fixtures, with Honduras beaten 3-0 by France and Ecuador going down 2-1 against Switzerland.
Both therefore face an uphill task to qualify for the round of 16, but know a victory would provide renewed hope.
Rueda is highly thought of in Honduras, having ended their 28-year wait for a World Cup finals appearance by securing qualification for the 2010 showpiece.
He concedes he would rather be coming up against different opposition at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.
"It's something that's been on our minds since December, when the draw was made," Rueda told FIFA.com.
"Obviously it's a match I would have preferred to have avoided.
"I love the people of Honduras very much and the love I have for them will always be there, even though we have a very intense 90 minutes ahead of us."
Suarez, now tasked with helping Honduras negotiate the group stage, also made a big impact during his time with Ecuador.
The 54-year-old led the team to the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup before bowing out against England.
Suarez feels the current Ecuador crop are better than the side he coached, and has predicted a tense match.
"It's a different side to mine. They've got a lot of new players, which is an indication in itself of how much they've progressed," he said.
"I think they play better football now, and I like the team a lot more than I did when I was in charge.
"It's going to be a very tense match. Both sides will go at it fairly but they'll be battling for every ball."
Honduras hope Victor Bernardez will recover from an ankle injury he picked up against France in time to feature, but Wilson Palacios is certain to miss out through suspension.
Rueda, meanwhile, is expected to name the same starting XI that was on duty against Switzerland on Sunday.
Ecuador and Honduras have met on 13 previous occasions, with eight of those encounters ending in draws.