WILSON PALACIOS will follow in the footsteps of Gordon Banks, Sammy McIlroy and Thomas Sorensen in becoming a serving Stoke City footballer to play in a World Cup Finals if selected by Honduras for their opening Group E clash against France tomorrow (kick off 8.00pm BST).
Palacios will become the fourth Stoke star after Banks (Mexico 1970), McIlroy (Spain 1982) and Sorensen (South Africa 2010) to represent the Club during the tournament in Brazil, in what will his second World Cup.
Prior to his departure, we spoke to Wilson about playing at the biggest football tournament in the world and Honduras' chances of surprising a few people.
How big an achievement is it for you personally to be going to the World Cup Finals this summer?
"It is fantastic to be going to my second World Cup, and something that I am incredibly proud of. As a player you always dream of playing for your country, so to do that on the grandest stage of all will be another moment to cherish for the rest of my life."
What would represent a successful tournament for you as a nation?
"It means so much to everybody. Everyone in Honduras loves football and they are all so proud and excited for the World Cup. It will be a very special atmosphere there when the games are taking place. We want to make them even prouder with our performances. I think we will surprise a few people. We aren't going there to just make up the numbers."
We all know about you as a player Wilson, but which of your teammates could rise to stardom and make a name for themselves out in South America?
"Myself! Just joking. I would have to say Andy Najar – who is currently in Belgium playing for Anderlecht. He is a very talented guy. He has pace and is gifted technically too. I think he has a big future in the game and hopefully he can show everybody what he can do in Brazil this summer."
Can you give us a random fact about your country that maybe not many people would be aware of?
"Well we are only a small country in comparison to a lot of the others, and this is only the third time we have been to the finals. Nobody expects us to do anything in Brazil, but we are confident of doing well."
Tell us why Stoke City supporters should adopt Honduras as their second country of choice, after England of course?
"We are the big underdogs and nobody fancies us to achieve anything. All supporters like to see a team like that do well don't they?"
GETTING TO KNOW HONDURAS
POPULATION // 7.9 million
NATIONAL DISH // Carneada – which is a type of pork sausage
NATIONAL ANTHEM // Himno Nacional de Honduras
BEST WORLD CUP FINISH // First round in 1982 and 2010
MEET THE COACH // LUIS FERNANDO SUAREZ
Not to be confused with Liverpool's Luis Suarez, the current Honduras boss has huge pedigree himself, having led Ecuador to the second round of the 2006 World Cup Finals where they were eventually knocked out by England. He will be hoping to cause another shock this year by leading his current crop of players beyond the group stages for the first ever time.
MEET THE CAPTAIN // NOEL VALLADARES
The 36-year-old will play a crucial role in the fortunes of his country this summer. He has over 120 international caps to his name having established himself as the number one for the best part of two decades. Despite that, he is one of the smallest 'keepers in the game, standing at just 5 foot 10.
STAR MAN // CARLO COSTLY
One of the biggest players expected to feature at the World Cup Finals this year, Costly stands at 6 foot 5. He brings a vast amount of experience to the Honduras side having featured for clubs all around the world, ranging from Birmingham City to his current side Real Espana back in his homeland.
A 2-1 victory away in Mexico in September last year proved to be crucial to their qualification through to the finals of the World Cup. The famous victory gave the side the confidence to secure a passage through to Brazil, where they will be hoping to make history and progress beyond the group stages for the first time.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the 2010 FIFA Cup, held in South Africa, Honduras achieved an historical distinction by including Jerry, Johnny, and Wilson Palacios in their squad. They became the first trio of brothers to represent a single nation in the World Cup.
GROUP E GAMES
Honduras vs France - Sunday 15th June (8.00pm British Summer Time)
Honduras vs Ecuador - Friday 20th June (11.00pm)
Honduras vs Switzerland - Wednesday 25th June (9.00pm)