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World Cup 2014 views from Tokyo: Honduras and Iran

by Mark Buckton

Carlos Mendoza
First secretary, Embassy of Honduras, 30

Who is Honduras’ man to watch?

Well, the Honduras man to watch in the World Cup is of course Carlo Costly. We have very famous players that are in the international world, like Wilson Palacios and his brother, Jerry Palacios, and also we can see that Jerry Bengtson has started to get very much stronger in the international area of soccer.

How far do you expect Honduras and Japan to get?

Well, Japan, I hope they go all the way to the third phase. For Honduras, we want at least to get to the second round. If we can go further, I would be more than happy.

Which game are you most looking forward to?

The game in particular that I’m looking forward to is the very first game of Honduras, against France. And if we can make the very first game good, I’m pretty sure that our players will get confidence about what they are going to do and how they’re going to play.

Who do you expect to win, and which dark horses could upset their plans?

I don’t claim to know who will win it. There are very good teams at the World Cup, and like (former Honduras manager) Chelato Ucles used to say, “Nobody knows in a football game,” so if we’re lucky, even we can win it.

As for dark horses, I’m pretty sure in today’s game, Brazil-Croatia — I think Croatia could be a very good, strong dark horse. Nobody knows, but maybe they will spring another big surprise like (in 1998) and go all the way to third place in the tournament.

Aria Varzdary
Junior high school student, 13
(Iranian/Japanese)

Who is Iran’s man to watch?

Iran’s best player is midfielder Javad Nekounam.

How far do you expect Iran and Japan to get?

Iran the best eight, Japan the best 16.

Which game are you most looking forward to?

Uruguay vs. Italy, because they’re both strong teams.

Who do you expect to win, and which dark horses could upset their plans?

Brazil.

(As a dark horse,) Japan. They’ve won every game since they drew with the Netherlands and beat Belgium (in November), so maybe they can do just as well against any other team.

Mark Buckton interviews natives of the 32 countries that have qualified for the FIFA World Cup about their teams’ chances. Send your comments to community@japantimes.co.jp.