Iran and Honduras coaches quit after failing to advance in 2014 World Cup

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Carlos Queiroz and Luis Fernando Suarez, the 2014 World Cup coaches of Iran and Honduras, respectively, quit their jobs on Wednesday following their side’s failure to advance out of the group stage.

Queiroz (pictured) made the announcement shortly after his side’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Group F opponent Bosnia-Herzegovina saying he was leaving due to the failure to agree to financial terms with Iranian soccer authorities.

“I showed my commitment and credibility, but I did not see any commitment to extend the contract,” Queiroz said. “I fell in love with Iran, but you can’t have a marriage in which only one side wants to marry.”

Despite a 0-0 draw in the opener with Nigeria and a 0-1 loss to Argentina in stoppage time, Queiroz was criticized by some for overly defensive tactics, a style the 61-year-old Portuguese manager claims he adopted due to his players’ lack of offensive experience. No word has come down regarding the status of Queiroz’ assistant coaches, including goalkeeping coach, American Dan Gaspar.

Suarez announced his time with Honduras had come to an end due to his expiring contract and desire to see someone else take control. “It’s not a resignation. It’s not an issue with the contract,” Suarez said. “I unilaterally take the decision of not continuing.”

“I’m leaving with a good conscience. I don’t think this is a defeat,” he added. “I leave with a clean soul and conscience thinking I gave my best.”

The Hondurans failed to earn a single point in Group E, losing all three matches they played. After opening the tournament with a 3-0 loss to France, they then lost 2-1 to Ecuador and 3-0 to Switzerland, a string of defeats that Suarez, at least in part, felt responsible for.

“I’m sorry I didn’t manage more,” said Suarez, who has been Honduras coach since March 2011. “I’m sad because I had a dream about this World Cup.”

The resignations of Queiroz and Suarez come one day after Cesare Prandelli quit his post as Italy manager following the 0-1 loss to Uruguay.

Four MLS players, two PL-ers make Honduras prelim camp for World Cup

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There’s another Luis Suarez in the news today, as Honduras national team coach Luis Fernando Suarez has released his preliminary 23-man roster for the 2014 World Cup.

Suarez can add seven more names to camp, but at least four Major League Soccer players and several more names familiar to those who monitor the English game made the list.

San Jose’s Victor Bernardez, New England’s Jerry Bengtson, Colorado’s Marvin Chavez and Houston’s Boniek Garcia all made the preliminary camp, with former DC United man Andy Najar also involved (He’s now with Anderlecht).

Stoke City’s Wilson Palacios and Hull City’s Maynor Figueroa are the only Premier Leaguers in the frame, though Wigan’s Juan Carlos Garcia and Roger Espinoza got calls.

Eight-times capped Houston Dynamo midfielder Alexander Lopez has not been called, while 22-times capped Vancouver defender Johnny Leveron is also uncalled

Honduras national team 23-man pre-World Cup camp roster

GOALKEEPERS: Noel Valladares (Olimpia), Donis Escober (Olimpia), Luis Lopez (Real España)

DEFENDERS: Arnold Peralta, Rangers (Escocia), Maynor Figueroa (Hull City), Víctor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic), Osman Chavez (Qingdao Jonoon), Juan Carlos García (Wigan), Bryan Beckeles (Olimpia), Juan Pablo Montes (Motagua)

MIDFIELDERS: Wilson Palacios (Stoke City), Jorge Claros (Motagua), Luis Garrido (Olimpia), Roger Espinoza (Wigan), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Andy Nájar (Anderlecht), Marvin Chavez (Colorado Rapids), Mario Martínez (Real España)

FORWARDS: Carlo Costly (Real Espana), Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Jerry Palacios (Alajuelense), Rony Martínez (Real Sociedad)

Honduras comeback leaves Mexico winless through two Hex rounds

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For over an hour in Honduras, Mexico played like the team we expected to dominate CONCACAF qualifying. Their two sublime pieces of execution gave Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández a double before the hour mark and El Tri a 2-0 lead in San Pedro Sula. But 20 terrible minutes to close out the match allowed the Catrachos to fight back for a valuable point, with goals late from Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengston leaving the teams drawn, 2-2.

Dropping points at home in World Cup Qualifying is never the ideal situation, but the Hondurans will put this result in context and be happy with their point. Though Mexico is now 0-0-2 to begin their Hex, they’re still expected to win this tournament. For the teams battling for those second and third spots — positions that will qualify them for Brazil 2014 — any points you can get off the Mexicans are good ones. There’s a good chance your rivals won’t be able to duplicate your result. Having fought back to draw a match many onlookers would have felt lost, Honduras can feel a sense of accomplishment despite dropping two points at home.

That’s the telling context for a comeback that looked unlikely after Chicharito poked home a Carlos Salcedo restart in the 54th minute. But after a short lull where it seemed the match’s final half hour would leave the home side empty handed, the Hondurans woke up.

In the 77th minute, a floated far post corner kick by Mario Martinez saw Carlo Costly rise above the Mexican defense to hammer his header past Guillermo Ochoa. Shortly after the ensuing kickoff, Costly drew a penalty from Francisco Javier Rodriguez, giving Jerry Bengston a chance to equalize from the spot. Ochoa saved the initial try headed for the lower left corner, but the block back to Bengston allowed the Revolution striker to bury the tying goal.

In broad strokes, the match played out similarly to Honduras’s February qualifier against the United States. They dominated possession and were able to put more shots toward goal but still fell behind. Lack of execution in the final third meant the Catrachos struggled to convert control into chances, but thanks to late charges, Luis Fernando Suárez’s team was able to get valuable results from both matches.

Through two rounds, Honduras is 1-0-1, their four points earned against the teams expected to finish in the table’s top two spots. If they can replicate these performances (if not necessarily the results) on the road, Honduras will easily qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.

As for Mexico, they will be disappointed. Great work from Andres Guardado allowed Chicharito to head the team in front on 28 minutes, allowing Mexico to lead for the 52 minutes. The performance promised to put their round one stumble behind them.

But with a late collapse compounding their draw in Mexico against Jamaica, it may be time to wonder if El Tri will be as dominant as expected. Yes, Honduras is an extremely difficult opponent, particularly in San Pedro Sula, but this is a game Mexico was expected to win.

And through 77 minutes, Jose Manuel de la Torre’s team met those expectations. Within this struggling side, we can still see the team that will likely win this tournament. But now 20 percent through the competition without a win (and with a match against their  rivals on the horizon), Mexico’s close to a mini-crisis of their own.

Tuesday against the United States isn’t a must win, but serious questions are going to be asked if Mexico finishes the Hex’s third round with a zero in the win column. Too much is expected of this team to brush off even the smallest of slumps.