How a football match caused an international conflict

How a football match caused an international conflict

Categories: History | Sport | World

Football ultras smash stadiums after major matches and feel like pretty cool guys. Well, of course, against the background of peaceful fans, they really look like wolves on the field with sheep. But the wildest antics of fan groups were not even close to what Honduras and El Salvador staged at the 1969 World Cup. Then the lost match turned into a real war, the echo of which still sounds throughout Central America.

How a football match caused an international conflict

How a football match caused an international conflict

Of course, football was only the last straw for both sides. The conflict grew gradually and was largely of an economic nature. The stronger economy of El Salvador simply irritated the top authorities of Honduras. In addition, by 1969, Honduras owed El Salvador a huge amount. Apparently, the war seemed to politicians an ideal way to write off loans.

How a football match caused an international conflict

The developed economy made El Salvador one of the market leaders in the region. However, money can not buy land — the country at that time was the smallest of all the states of Central America. The peasants of El Salvador massively crossed the border of Honduras and illegally settled on its territory.

How a football match caused an international conflict

In 1969, the football teams of both countries faced off in the semifinals of the World Cup. It was decided to hold two matches. The first one was held in Tegucigalpa and ended with riots on the streets — people were seized with real hysteria. And one of the ardent fans of El Salvador said that she could not tolerate such a shame as the 0:1 defeat of her favorites from the damned Hondurans, from whom everything is evil, and... shot herself.

How a football match caused an international conflict

The chaos on the streets of both countries did not subside. During the second match in San Salvador, the locals began to beat not only the fans of the opposing team, but also the players themselves. In San Salvador, the hosts were already stronger-3:0. The crowd raging with anger broke out of the stadium into the streets, a pogrom began, in which many innocent victims died. Immediately, a retaliatory wave of violence swept Honduras — tens of thousands of Salvadorans fled the country in panic, many were killed.

How a football match caused an international conflict

According to the regulations, another meeting between these teams was to take place on a neutral field. Well, on July 27, 1969, emotions flared up to the limit. On this day in Mexico City, Salvador, constantly came out ahead, but Honduras was catching up. And only in extra time, an accurate strike by Maurizio Rodriguez allowed the Salvadorans to snatch a victory from their principal opponent – 3:2. Ten minutes after the game, Honduras officially severed all diplomatic relations with El Salvador. Already on July 3, the first clashes began, both sides suffered losses.

How a football match caused an international conflict

By July 17, Salvadoran troops had advanced 70 kilometers into the interior of the country. The Honduran army was inferior in numbers and was less armed, but the Salvadorans ' offensive choked by itself, because the troops simply did not have enough fuel and ammunition. All this time, they tried to resolve the conflict at an emergency session of the Organization of American States, while Honduras quickly accepted the OAS proposal, but El Salvador refused to withdraw troops until July 29.

How a football match caused an international conflict

The fighting lasted only six days, but both El Salvador and Honduras suffered serious, if not terrible, losses. The war claimed the lives of five thousand people, most of whom were civilians. In global terms, the consequences were as negative as possible — among other things, the entire project of the Central American Common Market was completely destroyed, which led to the destabilization of the economy of the entire region. It took ten years for the countries to sign a peace treaty ending the war.

Keywords: Football | Sports | War | Honduras | History | Fight | Peace | Fans | El salvador | Stories

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