Two teams. Both bad. One the dirtiest team at the tournament. The other not too special either. Some would tell you this was not a game worth watching. Those people are wrong. It was football to the death.
Both teams set up in 4-4-2s, which tends to make for an open game anyway, yet their defensive line tended to be camped on the edge of their own area. This meant you could drive a convoy of buses through the space in midfield and the game went from end to end for the majority of the 90 minutes. Long balls flew from one penalty area to the other and there even seemed to be something close to man marking at times. It was a terrible, amateurish throwback of a game, and also great fun.
Straw-chewing Carlo Costly opened up the scoring when Jorge Guagua headed a long ball square into his chest from a yard, running onto it to smash past Alexander Dominguez. Ecuador levelled the scoring when Enner Valencia tapped in a deflected shot by Juan Paredes that was slowly dribbling out of play at the far post, the Honduran defence stood bizarrely still. A handballed goal that would have sealed Honduras as the World Cup’s least rule-abiding team was sadly not allowed to stand and Ecuador got the win through one of many free-kicks.
For a brief moment we had the possibility of Honduras scrambling their way out of the group to kick Argentina off the pitch in the second round, but the dream was cruelly snatched away by two Enner Valencia goals. Ecuador might make it out, the Swiss probably will, yet neither would have offered the perverse hope to every Sunday league side that a brutal scything challenge on Lionel Messi from Victor Bernandez would have.