Honduras qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1982 and only the second time in history after a 1-0 victory at El Salvador combined with Costa Rica’s 2-2 draw with USA meant they went through on goal difference.
Carlos Pavon scored in the 63rd minute to give the Hondurans the win and enable them to join the United States and Mexico from North America in South Africa.
Honduran players stood on the field awaiting news of the group’s other game and broke down in celebration after learning a late equaliser had earned the United States a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.
That result pushed Costa Rica into a play-off with Uruguay, beaten 1-0 by Argentina in South American qualifying, while Honduras gained CONCACAF’s final automatic berth.
“We knew is would be a very tight game with an El Salvador team that is very well drilled, but that’s football,” said Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda. “Today it’s the Honduras fans’ and their team’s turn to celebrate, thanks to the work of many years.
“Now we have months of work, months of matches and let’s hope this victory works out for the good of all.”
After civil unrest over a power struggle in Honduras Rueda sees the World Cup qualification in unifying terms.
“It’s a contribution toward peace,” he said.