Domingo, 19 Noviembre, 2017


World Cup qualifier: Honduras coach accuses Socceroos of 'espionage' after drone row

A stern-looking football coach walks with his eyes cast downwards Match Preview: Socceroos vs Honduras – It's win or bust for Russia
Alejandro Castrejon | Noviembre 14, 2017, 19:42

Australia will not let goal-scoring chances go begging again in Wednesday's decisive second leg of their World Cup playoff against Honduras, striker Tomi Juric has said.

Australia played out a nil all draw last Friday in Honduras and the second leg will take place tomorrow morning at 9am.

While the Honduras travelled to Sydney via a gruelling commercial flight minus the luxuries of the Socceroos, they will be able to bring in some fresher legs with striker Eddie Hernandez expected to feature.

The Honduran football association, Fenafuth, accused Football Federation Australia of attempting to film the visitors' training session at ANZ Stadium on Monday evening after a drone was seen flying over the venue.

It's espionage in football that begins to happen with this technology.

"Just like VAR [video assistant referee] has made it into football, drones have made their way into espionage".

Pinto didn't back away from the claims at his match-eve news conference, saying he didn't accept the explanation from stadium staff that it was an accidental case of a father and his child playing with the drone in a nearby park.

The Socceroos have been there and done that in terms of play-off success.

The Hondurans believe the drone was being guided by the Australians, and the Socceroos were trying to spot any weakness in their opponents before the game.

"It is down to the way we play".

After two years on the qualification path and countless kilometres covered, Australia's hopes of qualifying for Russia 2018 hinge on a single result. When Australian went to Honduras they checked every bathroom, every box at the stadiums where they trained and where they had the official training.

"The incident is embarrassing", Pinto told reporters.

"That's what it's all about, putting your body on the line and sacrificing for these two games, for such a big occasion for our country to qualify for a fourth consecutive World Cup".

"For the game we need to have a cold head but hot blood".

Pinto, who this week also claimed a Honduran journalist had been leaking information to Australia, was happy to maintain the tension with the Socceroos camp.

Australia joined Honduras in having their yellow card count wiped, meaning there are no suspensions to contend with. "We lacked that in the first game, but we know the boys can turn it around".

As Pinto put it, the former Wigan Athletic mainstay "projects confidence and security" and provides experience to compliment the team's youth.