No spying: Australia deny game of drones episode

Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has accused Australia of "espionage" after alleging they had used a drone to film his team's training sessions.
Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has accused Australia of "espionage" after alleging they had used a drone to film his team's training sessions.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY • Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has accused Australia of "espionage" after alleging they had used a drone to film his team's training sessions ahead of today's decisive World Cup play-off match.

The Honduran National Football Federation on Monday posted on Twitter footage of a drone flying above Sydney's Olympic Stadium where the team trained after their long flight from Central America.

Honduras face the Socceroos at the same stadium today in the deciding second leg of their intercontinental play-off with the scores level at 0-0 after a tight first leg in San Pedro Sula on Friday.

While Football Federation Australia said it was not involved in the drone incident, Pinto said the affair was "embarrassing for such an advanced country".

"Let's not be innocent, it's espionage in football," he told reporters yesterday.

"When Australia went to Honduras, they checked every bathroom, every box at the stadium where they trained.

"It takes some of the merit away from the fair play and the sporting event that will be held tomorrow."

Pinto also suggested on his arrival in Sydney that someone in the Honduran media had leaked tactical details to Australia.

"Regardless of the incident with the drone, and the possibility of a journalist from Honduras leaking information, we are happy with the welcome here," he said.

"We are facing a balanced side. We need to be aggressive and I'll be even happier (if) we're able to go back with qualification."

Honduras are bidding for a fourth appearance at the World Cup Finals, and third in a row, and Pinto will be able to call on experienced captain Maynor Figueroa and winger Alberth Elis, who were both suspended for the first leg.

At stake for the Socceroos will be a fourth successive World Cup Finals appearance. "They're a dangerous team, but more important for us is that we impose ourselves on the game," coach Ange Postecoglou said.

Australia's Mathew Leckie and Mark Milligan (both banned for the first leg) are available for selection.

REUTERS

AUSTRALIA V HONDURAS

Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 4.50pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'No spying: Australia deny game of drones episode'. Print Edition | Subscribe