Suarez dreams of new World Cup shock
15 May 2014, 09:15
Tegucigalpa - Luis Fernando Suarez is dreaming of a repeat of his greatest moment in football when he was coach of the Ecuador team that upset Poland 2-0 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Now in charge of Honduras, Ecuador could become his next famous scalp. The two sides are drawn together in Group E at the finals which start June 12 in Brazil. Switzerland and France are the more ambitious targets in the group.
Suarez is already a national hero in his native Colombia and Ecuador (for his 2006 exploits) and could now add celebrity status in Honduras if they win a match at the World Cup finals for the first time.
Suarez, 54, played his football in Colombia and made his name as a coach guiding Atletico Nacional to the Colombian championship in 1999 and Ecuador to the round of 16 at the 2006 finals with victories over Poland and Costa Rica.
Ecuador eventually lost 1-0 to England, It is the goals by Carlos Tenorio, Augustin Delgado that secured victory over Poland that remains the highlight of his career.
"It was certainly that first match, that first step was the most important" Suarez said in one interview.
"Without exaggerating everything went as we had anticipated. We had planned how we could counter their strengths. The game went very well, almost perfectly. I enjoyed it. The tactics were right and better than the opponents."
Ecuador asked its hero to stay on until the 2010 World Cup, but the story followed a popular football path and turned sour.
Calls for his resignation started after Ecuador's poor show at the 2007 Copa America.
Suarez vowed to stay but in qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, Ecuador lost 1-0 at home to Venezuela, were hammered 5-0 by Brazil and 5-1 by Paraguay. Suarez had no choice and in October 2009 left to manage Peruvian side Juan Aurich.
Since being named Honduras coach in March 2011, he has been plotting what he calls a typically "low profile" campaign to get a shock win. As with Ecuador in Germany, Suarez has insisted that Honduras stay in a small hotel in Brazil.
He has also rebuilt the squad into a team dangerous on the counter-attack, as they proved with a landmark win in Mexico during the qualifying tournament.
"In Ecuador and Honduras I cleaned out the players who thought they were more important than the team," Suarez said.
Honduras' all-time top scorer Carlos Pavon and veteran Amado Guevara were both booted out of the squad, which still has the highest average age in the 32 World Cup teams.
"People under-estimate us so we can do this," Suarez said.