FOOTBALL: Socceroos fans thought avoiding USA would be a good result.
No one quite expected it to happen this way, though.
Bruce Arena's side inexplicably butchered their third place on the final day of CONCACAF Qualifying, with a 2-1 loss to minnows Trinidad and Tobago.
At the same time, results conspired against them, with Mexico and Costa Rica, already qualified, taking their foot off the gas against desperate Panama and Honduras.
The former leaped into third place to qualify automatically, while Honduras set up a playoff against Australia.
The first leg will be away at Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, on November 6. The return is in Sydney on November 14 with both dates to be confirmed.
Former Socceroos boss Holger Osieck, in an interview talking about the so-called challenges in Asia, referred to his time as Canada boss travelling to places like Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico for World Cup qualifiers.
"At times it's hell, you cannot imagine what happens there," he said.
"I would like to see some of the European teams play there under these conditions.
"They set you up in the jungle, and then 2,000 metres high, airconditioning that doesn't work in the hotel, you cannot close the windows, you have the mosquitoes everywhere, the food.
"You have noise outside the hotel, people they stay the entire night on the streets, the drumming and trumpeting whatever, then in the games (with) reckless tackles, it's not easy.
"If the top teams in Europe go there they would struggle, so that is very often underrated and I think the same goes here (in Asia)."
Fox Sports football reporter Daniel Garb told Fox Sports News Honduras was the scenario FFA did not want.
"They wanted Panama - far easier logistically in terms of travel, training pitches, hotels.
"Honduras is, as they put it bluntly, rough.
"You can see it now, fans abusing Socceroos when they arrive; rocks being thrown at the hotel at night, all the dirty tricks part and parcel of international football."
Fox Sports' Robbie Slater added: "I went to hostile places like Iran 1997, Buenos Aires, against super power Argentina.
"You're going into countries where football is a religion.
"Going back to the 2001 (Uruguay) experience, we did do the stupid thing of acting like tourists and walking through the front door.
"Those experiences have been learnt through the years. FFA will have a security plan in place where they will sneak out.
"But you still have to live in that atmosphere, which is desperate to go to the World Cup."
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