There were not many expectations to El Salvador against the strong European side. The small central American country was in the midst of a civil war, and the team itself was unknown and with little to offer.
In the meantime, the Hungarians had a strong team, although they had been decaying since their golden days, and didn’t have the same stars they used to, although some of them were stars in their respective clubs, such as Royal Antwerp’s Lászlo Fazekas and Ferencvaros’ Tibor Nyilasi.
As the match started it was also Tibor Nyilasi who opened the scoreboard after only four minutes, on a nice header following a corner-kick. On two further goals by Gabor Pölöskei and Lászlo Fazekas, the score was 3-0 by half-time; a large difference, but worse was to come.
Ten minutes into the second half József Toth and Fazekas had made it 4 and 5-0 respectively against a pathetically passive Salvadorean defense. It all looked as a training session for the Hungarians who understandably relaxed and gave the Salvadoreans more space, and in the 64th minute this bore fruit when Luis Ramírez Zapata scored for El Salvador. The Salvadorean players celebrated the goal as if the goal was important, and in some ways it was, as it remains the only goal El Salvador has ever scored in a World Cup.
The Salvadorans appeared so happy to score one goal, that they perhaps forgot to play, and for the remainder of the match El Salvador completely fell apart. Lászlo Kiss became the first and only player in a World Cup to come on as a substitute and score three goals, while Lázár Szentes also scored before Tibor Nyilasi, who had opened the scoreboard, also closed it with the tenth Hungarian goal.
El Salvador had been utterly humiliated while Hungary had started the tournament very well to say the least!
However, in the end the match meant nothing: El Salvador went on to lose with a bit less, 1-0 to Belgium and 2-0 to Argentina. Hungary on the other hand lost 4-1 to Argentina and after a 1-1 with Belgium, were out of the tournament alongside the Salvadorans despite of their impressive scoreline.
Their victory against El Salvador still stands as the largest scoreline in World Cup history.
- 15th June 1982, Nuevo Estadio, Elche
- Attendance: 23,000
- Referee: Ibrahim Youssef-Al-Doy (Bahrain)
Goals: 1-0 Nyilasi (4), 2-0 Pölöskei (11), 3-0 Fazekas (23), 4-0 Tóth (50), 5-0 Fazekas (54), 5-1 L. Ramirez (64), 6-1 L. Kiss (69), 7-1 L. Kiss (72), 8-1 Szentes (73), 9-1 L. Kiss (76), 10-1 Nyilasi (83)
Hungary: Meszaros; Martos, Balint, Tóth, Mueller (Szentes), Garaba, Fazekas, Nyilasi, Torocsik (L. Kiss), Poloskei, Sallai
El Salvador: Mora; Castillo, Jovel, Recinos, Ventura (Fagoaga), Rugamas (L. Ramirez), Hernandez, Huezo, Gonzalez, Rivas, J. Rodriguez