November 14 – Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) has accused Australia of carrying out “espionage” in the build-up to the all-important second leg of their World Cup play-off.
Pinto claims that Australia used a drone to film his team’s training sessions in Sydney.
The decisive return leg takes place Wednesday with the scores level at 0-0 and Pinto said the affair was “embarrassing for such an advanced country”.
Pinto didn’t accept an explanation from stadium staff that it was an accidental case of a father and his child playing with the drone in a nearby park.
“Let’s not be innocent, it’s espionage in football,” he told reporters through a translator. “When Australia went to Honduras, they checked every bathroom, every box at the stadium where they trained,” in order to ensure there was no spying on their own sessions.
“It just takes some of the merit away from the fair play and the sporting event that will be held tomorrow.”
Honduras are bidding for a fourth appearance at the World Cup finals, and third in a row, with the tie delicately poised.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said he wasn’t getting distracted by the claims, and was focused only on getting the Socceroos to a fourth consecutive World Cup.
“There was a fair bit of drama around the first game, but we stayed well out of it,” Postecoglou said. “Ultimately, it’s all pretty irrelevant when the game kicks off tomorrow night. It’s all about those 90 minutes and anything said beforehand is meaningless.”
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