‘We won’t let Socceroos leave alive’
THE Socceroos can forget about the friendliness they have encountered since arriving in Honduras come Saturday at Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano.
Desperate for a good result in their home leg before they head to Sydney for the second leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff, the Honduras side has promised to make life a misery for the Socceroos on the park.
"We cannot let them go alive from the Olimpico," Honduras striker Anthony "Choco" Lozano told La Prensa newspaper in a warning to the Australians to be prepared to put their bodies on the line on Saturday.
"We must take advantage of the local conditions … we will give everything."
Lozano, who plays his club football for Barcelona B in the Spanish second division, urged what will be a full house of 40,000 fans to create an atmosphere that will lift Honduras to another level.
"Hopefully they can do a good job, we want their full support," he said.
Until Saturday, the Socceroos are likely to be met with the same kindness that has been afforded to them as they have arrived in small groups since the weekend.
Defender Bailey Wright echoed the earlier sentiments of teammates Tim Cahill and Trent Sainsbury in saying how welcome the Socceroos had been made to feel.
"Everyone I've come across so far is lovely." Bailey said.
"Everyone's been really friendly and up for a chat, asking how we are - I feel very welcome.
"So far it's been nice … we're here to do a job, focus on the football and so far it's been good."
Wright, who captains Bristol City in the English Championship, said the Socceroos would only blame themselves, not a hostile atmosphere or a dodgy pitch, if they failed to take a good first-leg result back to Sydney for next Wednesday' second leg.
"We've faced many different teams in many different climates. We've never made excuses," Wright said.
"Ideally you want to play on a nice pitch and everyone will say that 100 per cent, (but) that's not the way it goes and it never does.
"You've got to adapt to the team and control what you can control, and the pitch and the climate is not one of them."
Wright arrived in Honduras fresh from having his appeal against a two-game ban for alleged simulation in Bristol City's recent clash against Fulham dismissed.
The 25-year-old centre-back was retrospectively suspended, while Fulham's Aboubakar Kamara, who originally copped a three-game suspension for pushing Wright, had his three-match suspension for violent conduct rescinded.
"Obviously it's frustrating for myself. I'm disappointed and a little bit surprised, but I've got to move on now, there's nothing I can do about it," Wright said.
"The (English) FA are trying to crack down on things, and unfortunately I'm someone who's going to suffer from that."