A family tragedy will inspire Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios when he confronts Chile on Wednesday in a Group H Nelspruit showdown.
Younger brother Edwin was kidnapped in the politically-troubled Central American nation three years ago. Although $150,000 (Rs 70 lakh) ransom was paid, his body was discovered in a remote area.
“Everything I do in football is for Edwin. He is watching over me,” Palacios said as the country prepares for only their second appearance at the WC.
In a squad containing 14 local semi-professionals, Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa and midfielder Hendry Thomas are other EPL representatives.
Midfielders Edgar Alvarez and Julio de Leon and striker David Suazo play in Italy, although the latter is a doubtful starter for the match at the 42,000-seat Mbombela Stadium in the north-east city.
Honduras proved a tough nut to crack in Spain 28 years ago, drawing twice and losing the other group game by a single goal, and this offer hope to Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda. “Chile play different football to most countries and you have to be very intelligent to match them,” is the warning he drills into a team prone to defensive lapses.
Since defeating Yugoslavia to finish third as hosts of the 1962 tournament, Chile have played 13 matches in four appearances without celebrating a victory. But hopes are high that a team which finished second behind Brazil in the qualifying competition for SA can not only defeat Honduras, but reach the second round. Their schedule shows they will face tougher opposition with Honduras followed by European rivals Switzerland and World Cup favourites Spain.