El Salvador next up for Canada in WC qualifying


Mexico's Jesus Corona, right , fights for the ball with El Salvador's Ibsen Castro during last Friday's World Cup qualifier. (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

El Salvador’s national team
Team nickname: La Azul y Blanco (The Blue and White)
FIFA world ranking: #94
FA founded: in 1935
FIFA member: since 1938

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Why are they in the news?
El Salvador is in Canada’s CONCACAF qualifying group for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and host the Reds on Tuesday. While Canada beat Honduras 1-0 in its opening game on Friday in Vancouver, El Salvador lost 3-0 away to Mexico.

Player to watch
Rafael Burgos has earned 46 caps since making his national debut for El Salvador in 2010, scoring 13 goals along the way.

The 27-yearold forward is currently at FAS, one of the top clubs in his country. But he’s played abroad, including stints with teams in Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

The coach
Ramon Maradiaga was hired in September, having previously coached some of the biggest clubs in Central America, as well as the national teams of Honduras and Guatemala (twice).

A midfielder during his playing career, Maradiaga earned close to 50 caps for Honduras from 1973-1985. He served as Honduras’ captain at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

International honours
None to speak of at senior level, but El Salvador did finish runners-up at the 1963 CONCACAF Championships, and fourth at the 1965 tournament.

The team’s most famous moment
It’s actually an infamous moment. El Salvador has competed in two FIFA World Cups—in 1970 and 1982—bowing out of the first round both times after losing all three games. One of those losses was a 10-1 setback to Hungary in 1982, one of the heaviest defeats in World Cup history.

Here’s a few interesting facts
Estadio Cuscatlan, the site of Tuesday’s game, is known as La Catedral del Espectaculo (The Cathedral of the Spectacle) and is one of the largest stadiums in Central America, with a seating capacity of just over 53,000.

Canada and El Salvador have met 13 times at senior level, with the Reds winning seven times and suffering three losses.

Up to 20 Salvadorian players were implicated in a match fixing scandal in 2013, leading to lifetime bans from soccer for 15 of them.

He said it
“We’re playing at home (on Tuesday), we must impose the conditions, the pace and the criteria by which we should play that game,” El Salvadoran assistant Gilberto Yearwood told El Grafico

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