Socceroos to play Honduras in Sydney showdown on November 15

Golden chance: Tom Juric missed a huge opportunity to put Australia ahead in Honduras. Photo: AP
Golden chance: Tom Juric missed a huge opportunity to put Australia ahead in Honduras. Photo: AP

Australia v Honduras

Wednesday November 15, 8pm

ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Live on Fox Sports and 9Go.

Referee: Nestor Pitana (Argentina)

ON THE FIELD

Australia (3-2-4-1): Ryan; Milligan, Sainsbury, Jurman; Jedinak, Mooy; Leckie, Rogic, Kruse, Behich; Cahill.

Key player: Tom Rogic

Rogic is by common consent perhaps the most talented player in the Australian squad, and now is his chance to show those skills in a big game in a high pressure environment.

His dribbling skill and technique should be a significant weapon for Australia as they seek to break down what will in all likelihood be a massed Honduran defence.

He is used to such challenges, facing them on a weekly basis for his club side Glasow Celtic, who dominate the Scottish Premier League.

Honduras (4-2-3-1): Escober; Beckeles, Palacios, M Figueroa, Izaguirre; Mejia, Acosta; Elis, Lopez, Quioto; Hernandez.

Key Socceroo Tom Rogic. Photo: AAP

Key Socceroo Tom Rogic. Photo: AAP

Key player: Alberth Elis

The dynamic young winger put the world on notice with his brilliant display in the 2016 Olympic Games and has since become a regular for Los Catrachos' senior team.

He has been one of their more prolific players during the qualifiers, having netted four goals in crucial results.

He missed the first leg due to suspension and will be one of the two fresh players introduced into the starting team by coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

Alberth Elis in action for his club side, Houston. Photo: AP

Alberth Elis in action for his club side, Houston. Photo: AP

IN THE DUGOUT

Australia: Ange Postecoglou

Mystery still surrounds Postecoglou's future, as he has steadfastly refused to confirm or deny reports that he may quit after this game.

He would dearly love to be the first Australian coach to take the Socceroos through a qualifying campaign to the World Cup – whether he is at the finals or not.

Has backed his players and his tactical structures through thick and thin and is confident he will get his reward on Wednesday.

Ange Postecoglou with Mile Jedinak in Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: AAP

Ange Postecoglou with Mile Jedinak in Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: AAP

Honduras: Jorge Luis Pinto 

The unpopular Colombian coach faces significant pressure back home after the first leg failed to placate a hostile public.

He's accused the media of undermining his preparations by "leaking" tactical information about his team and has even directed his anger towards Australian team officials during the drone incident.

Already, he has lost his voice and is struggling to talk and the animated coach could be reduced to hand signs on the sideline.

These are all signs of pressure, but as he acknowledged, Honduras needs "a cold head but hot blood".

Finding that calm will be his biggest challenge.

Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto. Photo: AP

Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto. Photo: AP

THE KEY BATTLE

Tim Cahill v Maynor Figueroa

The two are well-acquainted adversaries from their time in the English Premier League but the stakes are much higher now in the twilight of their careers and away from the blinding lights of the world's most popular league.

The two veterans are set to return to lead their national teams after missing the first leg.

Figueroa was suspended for the 0-0 draw while Cahill was not risked, having just overcome an ankle injury.

Cahill believes he's found weaknesses in Honduras' defence and has a strong knowledge of Figueroa's game.

Honduras coach Pinto described Figueroa as an asset, and is confident his presence, influence and experience will sturdy Honduras' backline.

On Wednesday night, one of the two senior players will prove decisive.

The story, The Lowdown: Socceroos v Honduras, second leg in Sydney, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.