Honduras levels spying accusation at Australia: 'It's espionage in football'
It turned out to be a family playing with a rather modern toy, yet Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has refused to let go of the "embarrassing" drone incident that is causing drama ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifying finale.
Spying allegations were directed at Australia on Monday after the Honduran football association caught sight of a drone hovering above their training session at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.
The team promptly tweeted a video of the small device next to the caption: "Australia spy Honduras training from a drone, which caused upset to the team and Honduran delegation."
While FFA's media staff had used a drone in Honduras to film Australia's training sessions, it denied having anything to do with Monday's incident.
Upon investigation by Sydney Olympic Park officials, the drone was found to belong to children playing in the nearby Cathy Freeman Park. It was subsequently grounded to comply with the complex's rules.
But when asked about it on Tuesday Pinto was having none of it, even suggesting Australian officials had inspected every nook and cranny in San Pedro Sula in case they'd been bugged before the weekend's first-leg scoreless draw.
"The incident is embarrassing for such an advanced country," Pinto said.
"When Australian went to Honduras they checked every bathroom, every box at the stadiums where they trained and where they had the official training.
"The videos show more than anything a drone can show. It just takes some of the merit away from the fair play and sporting event that will be held tomorrow.
"Let's not be innocent, it's espionage in football.
"Just like VAR [video assistant referee] has made it into football, drones have made their way into espionage.
Pinto, who this week also claimed a Honduran journalist had been leaking information to Australia, was happy to maintain the tension with the Socceroos camp.
Asked if his team would deploy long balls at ANZ Stadium, the 64-year-old threw in a little dig at Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou.
"Without a doubt we'll be employing long balls tomorrow," he said.
"So if the head coach of Australia is watching this press conference he has some insight into the game."
The Honduran squad, who have previously suspended captain Maynor Figueroa and speedy winger Alberth Elis back in their arsenal, finally arrived in Sydney on Monday morning nearly a day after Australia.
"Regardless of the incident of the drone, and also journalists in Honduras leaking information about our team, we have been very comfortable here," Pinto said.
"Yesterday when the team arrived they didn't sleep at all until the night ... we got a good night's sleep and my team will be 100 percent physically.
"For the game we need to have a cold head but hot blood. We must be very aggressive throughout the 90 minutes.
"Honduras has recently played some very good football. We lacked that in the first game, but we know the boys can turn it around."