Honduras head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has hit out at the USA‘s decision to stage the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier between the sides in sub-zero weather conditions, after two of his players were forced off the pitch with hypothermia.
The pair of North American nations met in a CONCACAF qualifying match in Minnesota, but the temperature only favoured one side. They collided in baltic conditions, with temperatures recorded at minus 17 degrees celsius.
Honduras suffered miserably in conditions far colder than their climate at home. Two of their players were forced off at half-time with hypothermia, whilst others required IV drips to recover in a wind chill reported as -22 degrees celsius at kick-off.
According to the Daily Mirror, it was the coldest match involving the USA in over 20 years. The icy weather forced the players to wear protective clothing, warm weather equipment, face coverings, and the wet T-shirts pitchside literally froze solid. Ultimately, Honduras could not overcome the bitter conditions and lost the match 3-0.
Honduras freeze as USA take advantage
As the hosts, the USA were responsible for picking the ground. Their coach Gregg Berhalter told the Star Tribune that the USA regularly utilises the freezing weather to give them an advantage against teams from Central and South America. He also stated how this puts visiting teams at a disadvantage.
He explained: “They’re all coming from the equator, and it’s going to be really difficult for them to deal with these conditions. They’re going to take a couple of breaths, and it’s going to hit them like it never hit them before.”
The whole saga has prompted a massive backlash from people around the footballing world, who have taken to social media to express their anger at the game being played in the first place. Others took a lighter view.
There are two sides of the coin to look at when analysing this match. Some could argue that the Americans used their initiative to develop the best way to win the game. But on the other hand, what they did turned out to be seriously dangerous for the players that were forced off, and could have caused worse damage to the players than it did.
Honduras manager hits out
Of course, their manager, Hernán Darío Gómez, thought the latter.
Speaking pre-match, he said: “It’s not normal, it’s inconceivable that a power in every sense would bring you here to play a game and get a result.
“The game hasn’t started, but I can’t wait for it to end. Because it’s not for enjoying, it’s for suffering.”
After the match, he then doubled down on his words: “Soccer shouldn’t happen this way. I’ve got all my players getting treatment, some players getting an IV.
And to rub salt into the wounds, his side is still at the bottom of the CONCACAF qualifying group, while the USA sit in second. They will hope they do not ever have to play in such conditions again.
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