FFB: "A Respectable Loss"
Tonight, football fans and Belizeans generally may be a little downcast because of this evening's loss to Honduras one-nil in the final of the Copa Centroamericana. But football experts agree, it was a very respectable loss. Belize was a decided underdog against a world class Honduran team which was better conditioned, more experienced and more patient. And even with all that - they only scored a single goal in the 67th minute in a game they had to win.
We asked Marlon Kuylen (quee-lyn) of the FFB executive for his post mortem on the game:..
"The team played very well. Honduras as you know is a very experienced team, they are the defending champions on this tournament, they are a World Cup qualifying - they are playing to go to the next World Cup. Our showing was impressive. The Honduras team as I said are professionals, their patience paid off, they are experience and there were some fatigue on our part."
"While the country was looking at the game hoping for a Hail Mary, there were some that said that they predicted that we would have lost. How do you respond to them in light of the performance from the National Team?"
"This 1-0 loss is a very respectable loss. Most people thought that we would get blown-out. In fact they though so when we went into the tournament. It's a very respectable loss, we've done very well. It's not over yet, we will play for the third place match on Sunday and kudos to the Belize team."
"Sir, what's the competition going to be like for that third place game? We have the next two teams who are going to match up. Tell us about each team if they should have to face us in a third place game."
"We already tested Costa Rica and you know we loss 1-0 in that match. My prediction is that Costa Rica will go all the way. I think we will face Salvador which I think will be a easier opponent for us because of the size. Our team is bigger than theirs."
As he mentioned, Belize now prepares for the third place game which will be played on Sunday afternoon against either El Salvador or Costa Rica - which you can see live right here on Channel 7.
After that match, the National Team returns to Belize on Monday at around 4 p.m.
They will get a hero's welcome home because Football Federation of Belize has organized a motorcade from Brodies on the Northern Highway, where they will travel down Central American Boulevard, down Cemetery Road to Albert Street, and they end at the Yabra Field. We'll have coverage on Monday.
Honduras advances to UNCAF final
Defending champion Honduras edged upstart Belize, 1-0, Friday night in the semifinals of the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana to earn a place in the championship match against the winner of the late match between host Costa Rica and El Salvador.
The teams played through an extremely active, but scoreless, first half in which the chances came frequently and were evenly divided. Top-notch goalkeeping from Belizean Woodrow West and his Honduran opposite number Donis Escober denied multiple scoring opportunities.
The proceedings became increasingly tense as the second half got underway, with both squads aware that a trip to the final was on the line.
Honduras came close several times through the pairing of U.S.-based attackers Oscar Boniek Garcia and Jerry Bengtson. But it was Belize with the clearest chance of the second half's early going, when right back Evan Mariano tried his luck from distance, only to miss just wide.
The Catrachos finally broke through in the 67th minute, as rambling right back Bryan Beckeles got up the field and into the Belizean area, where he rifled a shot past West for the 1-0 advantage. It was the 27-year-old's first international goal, though, he has scored twice in the CONCACAF Champions League for Olimpia.
Belize continued to attack bravely and had its best minutes in the late going, when Elroy Smith curled in a free kick that was narrowly cleared out for a corner by the Honduran defense.
Despite the Belizean pressure, Honduras managed to hang on for a narrow victory.
The Hondurans head into Sunday's final unbeaten in their last eight Copa Centroamericana games and have conceded one goal or less in their last 14 outings in the competition.
After not playing a game in 2012, Belize will contest its fifth in 10 days in the third-place match, also on Sunday.