• Tim Cahill (L) with The Project's Peter Helliar (C) and Waleed Aly (Network Ten)
The Socceroos could be about to pay the price for insensitive media reporting and jokes at the expense of their Central American hosts.
Source:
AAP
10 Nov 2017 - 1:38 PM  UPDATED 10 Nov 2017 - 1:39 PM

On the eve of their World Cup qualifying playoff, Honduras captain Maynor Figueroa has made clear his team's annoyance with reports from Australia characterising their country as dangerous and violent.

And he says it's driving them to defeat Ange Postecoglou's side and snatch a place at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Honduran media have kept tallies of what they see as insulting and degrading comments made in Australia.

Arguably, the chief slight was levelled by a TV panel show The Project which noted the host city of San Pedro Sula was until recently the 'murder capital of the world' and suggested the Socceroos' next up opponent might be ISIS.

Honduras outraged at The Project's controversial comments
Tensions between Australia and Honduras have reached an all-time high after a recent interview with Tim Cahill on The Project left the Central American nation deeply offended.

The players have also noticed and aren't impressed.

Figueroa, a strong defender who has played for Premier League sides Wigan and Hull, said they'd be out to make the Socceroos suffer.

"I am extremely motivated by everything that is said about our beautiful country," he said on Friday (AEDT).

"That is an additional ingredient that makes us enthusiastic to win, and very optimistic.

"Honduras is a wonderful country where the only war we will need to face is on the field."

With a foreboding smile, he concluded "Welcome".

Socceroos ready to enter 'the Tomb' in Honduras
The Socceroos will aim to turn Honduras's biggest strength - their fiery home support - on its head in the opening match of their intercontinental 2018 FIFA World Cup play-off.

Honduran coach Jorge Luis Pinto also took the high ground in his press conference.

"As this country is decent and classy, we will give the first questions to foreigners," he said, handing the floor to Australian journalists.

The perceived patronising treatment has gone down extremely poorly with proud locals, who feel the 'murder capital' label is misunderstood and overused.

There can be no denying the city's terrible homicide rate, which is more than 100 times worse than the Australian average.

But the violence is largely self-contained within rival gangs and well-known no-go zones.

The tag also contrasts sharply with the experience of Australian travellers to the country for the match and the Socceroos themselves, who have enjoyed rich hospitality.

The Australian government's Smartraveller website urges "a high degree of caution" in Honduras, granting it the same safety warning as France, India, Brazil and Nepal.