OUNTDOWN: 25 DAYS TO GO
we’ve all got to play some time to prepare for the tournament.”
Honduras, who will be appearing in their third World Cup finals, have never won a game and they failed to score a goal in their last appearance in 2010.
But the squad this time around features six British-based players – Premier League regulars Maynor Figuero and Wilson Palacios of Hull and Stoke, as well as Celtic star Emilio Izaguirre and Arnold Peralta of Rangers among their ranks.
Espinoza, who has 34 caps for his country, insists the English style – and the gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat to QPR at Loftus Road – can actually aid their chances.
“The English live football and that’s something we can get on with. We love the atmosphere, which can be unbelievable like during (the QPR) game,” he added.
“I think Hondurans are attracted to English football because we have the right mentality and physicality to play here. Instead of going to America, a lot of us now like coming to England.
“It’s a place where football is very emotional. People tend to treat you in a different way and we like that style.
“Honduras has more players with the ability to play in England so hopefully they will come. Then there will be more Hondurans with better experience of playing with the best players in the world.
“The atmosphere from our fans gave us the confidence to work hard for the club. I’m already looking forward to next season. This season is done now so I’ll go on to the national side and then do it all again next year.”
Espinoza joined the Latics from Sporting Kansas City in January 2013 and four months later was lifting the FA Cup after a last-gasp victory over Manchester City.
Relegation soured the memories somewhat but the left-sided player was desperate to go back to Wembley and earn an immediate return to the Premier League before Rangers put paid to his hopes.
“It’s very, very disappointing not to get the chance to create some more great memories at Wembley,” he continued.
“We’ve come so close and probably were a little unlucky not to make it. I give credit to QPR, though as they defended really well, especially at the end.
“We tried all we could to create opportunities and actually had some chances but did not finish them.
“Overall they deserved to win. I think next season with a more settled managerial situation and a team of experienced players we can definitely get automatic promotion.
“We had a very rough beginning to this season and had we done better then we wouldn’t be here right now.
“We need to start really well to make sure we don’t fall into this playoffs situation again and just go straight up to the Premier League.”