Three of Wigan Athletic’s international players could tonight seal their countries a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, with Roger Espinoza and Juan Carlos Garcia’s Honduras and Jean Beausejour’s Chile just a point each away from qualification.
Chile face third place Ecuador in Santiago, as they sit three points above fifth place Uruguay in the South American zone in the final qualification place, while Honduras also need just a point to pip Mexico to the final qualifying slot in the North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying zone as they face Jamaica in Kingston.
Although just a point each would be enough, Latics and Honduras midfielder Roger Espinoza ensures that Los Catrachos will be going out to win their place at the 2014 World Cup.
Espinoza told FIFA.com:
“These are the types of games where you need to demonstrate great character.
“It’s something that we’ve shown in other hexagonal qualifying matches, and it’s been the key to our success.
“Away games are always tricky, even more so when there’s so much at stake. But this team has a lot of character, and it’s time to let it shine.”
Adding to his determination for his team to show character, Espinoza was adamant that the good work carried out in their previous game, a 1-0 victory against Costa Rica, cannot be allowed to be undone.
“The win over Costa Rica was important, but the worst thing now would be to take our foot off the pedal, thinking that we’ve already qualified.
“We must remind ourselves that we’re not yet in Brazil, and that we won’t be until the final whistle sounds and we have the necessary points to finish in the top three.
“We need to remain as focused as possible.”
Latics also have two players available for action in the European qualifying groups, however James McClean’s Republic of Ireland and James McArthur’s Scotland are unable to qualify.
Instead though, McArthur looked forward towards the next major championship qualifying campaign, hoping a good result against Croatia tonight will give Scotland a boost.
He told the Scottish Express:
“Hopefully now we are growing in confidence and building some momentum for the nation.
“We’ve had players over the past 10 years who have not experienced the feeling of a major championship and that’s a big thing for us as players.
“You want to go to World Cup Finals, you want to get to European Championships and we’re all striving to go in the same direction and get there.”
Following tonight’s games we will have a full international round-up available on the website.