May 1, 1993, was the last time Mexico managed to defeat Honduras in Central America. Since then, there have been four defeats for El Tri. And if the Honduran media is anything to go by, the Central American country is very confident that Los Catrachos will extend El Tri's winless streak in Honduras past the 20-year mark. All week there have been constant references to the struggles Mexico has had, with cartoons, videos and editorials designed to stir sentiment against El Tri.
The 100-degree afternoon heat and the white-hot atmosphere of the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula are obvious challenges, but the match also comes at a time when critics of coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre are sharpening their knives off the back of last month's dismal 0-0 draw against Jamaica in the Azteca. Honduras also is improving as a football nation and would move five points clear of Mexico in the Hexagonal with a victory.
But in these post-London Olympics gold-medal days, Mexican national teams are supposedly programmed to break down historical barriers and shatter preconceptions. Friday will be the latest test to see if that rings true with the full national team.
Here are five keys to what would be a confidence-boosting win for Chepo and El Tri.
In El Tri's past two games in Honduras, Mexico had three players sent off late in the matches. The grinding pressure of the environment and the home support weighs on opposing players, who have to have thick skin not to react negatively.