The qualifying match for the 1970 World Cup between the national teams of El Salvador and Honduras ended dramatically. The meeting of these teams served as a pretext for the outbreak of hostilities between the two countries.
Of course, football was just an excuse, relations between these states could not be called friendly before, but the war went down in history under the name "football".
El Salvador, being the most populous state in Central America, experienced an acute shortage of land. By the end of the 1960s, more than 300, 000 Salvadorans had moved to neighboring Honduras in search of vacant land. Naturally, the massive influx of foreigners caused discontent among the inhabitants of Honduras.
By the will of fate, the teams of these countries competed for the right to take part in the 1970 world championship in Mexico. The first match took place in Honduras on June 8, 1969 and ended in a 1-0 win for the hosts. The return game took place a week later, on June 15, in El Salvador. This time, the Salvadorans were stronger, defeating their rivals with a score of 3: 0.
Since the goal difference in these meetings was not taken into account, a third match was appointed, this time on a neutral field in Mexico City. El Salvador was able to win only in extra time with a score of 3: 2. After the game, mass fights between fans took place on the streets of the Mexican capital.
Radio Honduras added fuel to the fire, reporting that rivals outraged the Honduran flag. Mass beatings of Salvadorans began in the country. In response, the government of El Salvador announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the neighboring state, and the mobilization of reservists began in the country.
On July 14, hostilities began, which lasted a whole week. Due to the transience of the conflict, the press called it the 100-hour war. The military losses amounted to about 700 people from El Salvador and 1200 people from Honduras. Tens of thousands of Salvadorans were forced to leave Honduras and return to their homeland. Trade relations between the countries ceased, and the border was tightly closed.
At such a high price, the football team of El Salvador won the right to compete in the world championship. True, the players of this country did not achieve great success there either. Having got into the group with the teams of the USSR, Mexico and Belgium, the Salvadorans lost all three meetings, conceding 9 goals in them and not scoring a single one into the opponents' goal. Having finished in the last place in the group, the athletes from El Salvador went home long before the end of the tournament.
Interestingly, the peace treaty between the countries was signed only 10 years after the end of the war.