El Salvador’s World Cup history is a brief affair. The Central American nation has qualified twice for the Global Showcase of soccer. However, both tournaments were disappointment for El Savador, which went out in the group phase of the tournament in both appearances.
El Salvador qualified for its first ever World Cup in 1970. In a tournament stacked with all-time greats Pelé, Beckenbauer, Gérson, and Müller, the inexperienced team didn’t stand much of a chance.
The Salvadorians lost their first fixture to Belgium in Mexico City. Next came a crushing 4-0 defeat at the hands of host team Mexico, followed by a 2-0 loss to the USSR. All in all, the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City was a disappointing showing for El Salvador. But their second qualification would be a source of national pride for all El Salvadorians.
1982’s Global Showcase in Spain was the second and final time the Salvadorian side managed to qualify for a World Cup final. However, the tournament was marked by bizarre occurrences, a brutal loss, and a sole highlight. For reasons unknown to pretty much everyone, the country took only twenty players to the ’82 World Cup (two less than every other side).
El Salvador then lost their first match to Hungary in record fashion, going down 10-1, the largest margin of victory in World Cup history. Luis Baltazar Ramírez Zapata scored the country’s only World Cup goal, though it didn’t do much good.
In its second and third games, the Salvadorian side went scoreless to Belgium (once more) and defending champions Argentina. As a result El Salvador was eliminated in the group phase of the tournament.
In 2010, FIFA suspended the Salvadoran Football Association from future activity, as a result of government interference. If El Savador's football program can’t get itself sorted and keep the government out of its business, its unclear whether the country will have an opportunity to make another World Cup appearance.
Hopefully this can be righted, for the sake of Salvadorian football fans. Though the country isn’t particularly strong in the sport, no fan deserves to have no other memory than a 10-1 obliteration at the World Cup.