Soccer  > World Cup  > Honduras pushed to brink of elimination
June 21, 2010, 05:02 PM
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Honduras was pushed to the brink of elimination from the World Cup on Monday, allowing a pair of goals by David Villa and falling 2-0 to European champion Spain.

It was the second time in as many games Honduras was defensive throughout, despite the return of forward David Suazo, rarely mustering any possession or threatening the opposing goal.

Following its opening 1-0 loss to Chile, the Catrachos were left at the bottom of Group H with zero points and all but mathematically eliminated with only a match against Switzerland remaining.

Spain, which drew 1-1 with Honduras in their only other World Cup encounter in 1982, dominated nearly from the opening whistle, hitting the bar in the seventh minute when Villa crashed a shot off the frame from 35 meters.

Sergio Ramos put a header high four minutes later and Xavi Hernandez was unable to get his head to a cross while unmarked at the 6-yard-line.

Honduras had a brief flurry of possession and hope beginning with Walter Martinez's cross from the right that Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas handled easily in the 13th. Martinez sent in a cross that Casillas had to come well off his line to punch away two minutes later, and in the 17th Casillas again had to react early to take the ball just before Suazo could get a touch in the area.

But Villa ended Honduras' moment and put Spain ahead in the 17th. He dribbled between right back Sergio Mendoza and midfielder Amado Guevara before driving back Oscar Chavez and unleashing a falling, right-footed shot from near the top of the area and beating goalkeeper Noel Valladares.

Chavez was somewhat victimized on Villa's second goal as well. A Spanish counter finished with a ball laid back to just outside the restraining arc, where Villa's right-footed shot deflected off Chavez's thigh and past Valladares.

Villa had a chance for a third after Emilio Izaguirre tripped Jesus Navas in the area, but he put the ensuing penalty just wide of the right post in the 62nd minute. It was Spain's first missed penalty in 14 attempts at the World Cup.

Suazo, playing his first game since injuring his leg June 5 in a friendly against Romania, was largely ineffective, rarely getting a touch to the ball. One of his few looks at goal resulted in a left-footed shot well wide of the far post in the 65th.

Including winning the penalty, Spain continued to dominate, with Chavez having to clear a Cesc Fabregas shot two meters in front of an unprotected goal less than a minute after the Arsenal midfielder entered the game. The Catrachos had more possession in the second half, but generated little that looked dangerous from it.

Honduras had manager Reinaldo Rueda back on the bench after his forced absence against Chile due to suspension for being ejected in the Catrachos final World Cup qualifier in October.

Group H

Wednesday, June 16
Honduras 0, Chile 1
Spain 0, Switzerland 1
Monday, June 21
Chile 1, Switzerland 0
Spain 2, Honduras 0
Fruiday, June 25
Switzerland vs. Honduras
Chile vs. Spain


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