Honduras accuses Aussies of clumsy World Cup espionage
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SYDNEY, Australia — Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto has accused Australia of an "embarrassing" espionage attempt after a drone hovered over his team's training session ahead of the return leg of their World Cup intercontinental playoff.
The first leg last week ended in a 0-0 draw, leaving a spot at Russia in 2018 at stake in Wednesday's match at Sydney's Olympic stadium.
The Australians flew directly home from Honduras on a charter flight and landed Sunday, a day ahead of Pinto's squad.
The Hondurans were upset when officials saw a drone flying over their practice session, and didn't accept the explanation from stadium officials that it was an innocent case of a father and his child playing with a toy in a nearby park.
"Let's not be innocent. It's espionage in football," Pinto told a news conference Tuesday. "Just like VAR (Video Assistant Referee) has made it into football, drones have made their way into espionage.
"It's embarrassing. It just takes some of the merit away from the fair play and the sporting event that will be held tomorrow."