Having suffered the upset of the tournament, Spain now faces the possibility of not-winning Group H, a fate which would (if they advance) pair them with Brazil in the Round of 16. Unfortunately for the Spanish, they have other, more basic problems to address before turning their attention to avoiding Brazil. For only the second time in 49 matches, Spain needs to bounce back from a loss.
To do so, they must get past Honduras, a team that has been hit hard by injuries. Two of their best players have been ruled out of the tournament. Another two are struggling with injuries while still on the roster. Already considered one of the weaker teams of the group, Honduras may now be holding on rather than fighting.
As the Swiss showed in Spain's first match, that's not always the worst approach against the Spanish.
Spain, Going Forward: In the wake of their loss to Switzerland, Spain has come under criticism back home for their approach and Vincente del Bosque's lineup selection. The most pointed of that criticism came from former coach Luis Aragones.
In charge when Spain won the 2008 European Championships, Aragones hinted that the Switzerland result had been coming for some time. He derided the lack of aggression in attack and criticized del Bosque's decision to start two deep-sitting midfielders: Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquests. Vincente del Bosque, responding to Aragones' critiques, espoused his admiration for the now-revered coach, but with Aragones's comments becoming a rallying point, del Bosque is feeling understandable pressure.
As is often the case with struggling teams, injuries can be both the cause and solution. If Aragones is concerned about a lack of aggression in attack, look no further than Fernando Torres's absence. If he is concerned about the need to start Alonso, look toward Cesc Fabregas's injury. Both are expected to be back for the Honduras match, and with Andres Iniesta a doubt, both may start.
With the attacking options bolstered, Spain will again be at the strings of Xavi Hernández. The best central midfielder in the world, Xavi was still able to create chances for his teammates despite Switzerland's strong defensive performance. If Spain gets slightly better finishing, they'll have no problem with Honduras.
Honduras, Going Forward: Destined to have a huge possession disadvantage, Honduras will need to be quick on the counter and efficient in their execution. Thankfully for the Catarachos, they should have David Suazo available. Suazo has the speed and skill to be a danger-man on the break. The question is whether Honduras can get him the ball.
Wilson Palacios, who has also dealt with health concerns leading into these finals, will be the player responsible for destroying Spain's play, but the central midfielder did not look himself in Honduras's opener with Chile. As a result, the Chileans held over 70 percent of the possession. More important, Palacios was unable to spring Honduras into the counter attacks that would have made the little possession they had dangerous.
The only times teams have beaten Spain in the last three years has been by countering. They hold too much possession to rely on being able to build attacks, and when you have the ball the Spanish pursuit is too intense to allow you time to be patient.
It will be up to Palacios to not only destroy attacks and win the ball back but also help spring the Catarachos into their counters.
How The Match Turns: This is a must-win match for a Spain team that didn't play poorly in their first game of the tournament. Yes, they lost, and yes, they've been criticized over the last week, but against a Honduras team whose best players are struggling with injuries, Spain should look their normal selves.