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Showdown at the Azteca

Posted on 9 September 2009  - 12:00

Wilson Palacios and Giovani dos Santos go head to head in a massive World Cup qualifier in Mexico on Wednesday night.

Showdown at the Azteca

Wilson Palacios and Giovani dos Santos go head to head in a massive World Cup qualifier in Mexico on Wednesday night.

A crowd of 100,000-plus is expected in the famous Azteca Stadium in Mexico City as Gio's Mexican side and Wilson's Honduras try to take a step nearer to the 2010 finals in South Africa.

The North, Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF) qualification is as close as anywhere in the world.

After the weekend's results - wins for both Mexico, with Gio on target and Honduras - the top four teams - Honduras, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica - are separated by just one point.

However, only three teams will go straight through to South Africa with the fourth-placed team facing a play-off against the fifth-placed team in South America.

It was all smiles as Gio and Wilson spoke about their clash at Spurs Lodge before jetting off after the win against Birmingham City.

"I must admit I'm a bit nervous at the moment about this game against Mexico - it's a very important game for us," said Wilson before his side's convincing win against Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday night.

"If we can win both of these games we will be in a strong position to qualify straight for the World Cup."

Gio, Wilson

It was pointed out that a win for Honduras could hit his friend Gio's hopes hard of making it straight through to the finals. "That's true but perhaps only one of us will go through, that's football," he smiled, before adding: "I haven't been going hard into him in training so I can play against him!"

"We've spoken about this game a lot," added Gio. "We are a good friends, we speak Spanish together, he's a great lad and I'm very happy that he's here and to have the chance to play with him.

"This is such an important game. We are close to the top but Honduras is always a very difficult team to play against. We always have great games against them and we really have to win this one."

As for Wilson, Gio smiled: "He's a great player, but I hope on this occasion he doesn't have a good game and Mexico win!"

Tuesday's action

Danny Rose crossed for Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge to score the opener for England Under-21s in their European Championship qualifier with Greece in Tripoli.

The game ended 1-1, with both Danny and Kyle Naughton completing 90 minutes for the Young Lions.