Four years ago, Honduras could only watch and pray. They had won their final match of World Cup qualifying, but if the United States couldn't mount a late comeback to draw Costa Rica, they would be doomed to a play-off against Uruguay for a spot in South Africa.
If the United States couldn't mount a late comeback to draw Costa Rica, their World Cup dreams were about dead.
Fortunately for them, Jonathan Bornstein (four years later, it still doesn't seem real) came to their rescue with a stoppage time equalizer. The U.S. had done it. They had drawn the Ticos and nobody was happier than the Catrachos.
People poured into the streets all around the country to celebrate. For the first time time in 28 years, Honduras was heading to the World Cup.
Their next World Cup may not requires as long of a wait. It could come just four years later with a trip to Brazil, and this time it should not be as stressful. It should not require help. Honduras should be able to book their ticket themselves. That is the perk of being three points clear of Panama and Mexico for the third and final automatic qualifying spot in CONCACAF.
This time they don't need Bornstein. They don't need luck. They don't need to wish and pray. They need four points from their final two matches, or even just three three points against the Ticos in front of a home crowd that will be dying to celebrate a spot in Brazil if Mexico and Panama draw on Friday. Making matters better is that Costa Rica have already qualified for the World Cup, leaving them with little to play for.
Honduuras and Costa Rica have both called in many of their best, but with nothing on the line and a hostile crowd backing the Catrachos, the Ticos don't figure to put up much of a fight.
The gods are begging Honduras to take three points. To ignite a country in the midst of turmoil. To take their spot on the world's biggest stage.
Whereas four years ago Honduras had to hope everything broke their way, this cycle it already has and now they just need points. Attainable points at that. Do so, beginning Friday against Costa Rica, and the World Cup is waiting.
Match Date/Time: Fiday, October 11; 5 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
TV: BeIN Sport (U.S.)