Normally the term derby is considered about clubs but this time let’s talk about the most important rivalry in the Central American Zone of CONCACAF in terms of national teams. I am not referring that of the Football War (El Salvador-Honduras) nor that between Costa Rica and Panama but of Costa Rica and Honduras. Why are these two bitter rivals in CONCACAF? Do they match up to the intensity of a Der Klasiker (Germany-Netherlands)?
The first question has an easy answer, it is because these two nations have been the creme de la creme of Central American soccer. The second is that it does to a certain extent because of the consequences attached to it. So let’s jump right in.
In the early history of both nations’ history, they were part of the Federated States of Central America. A United States kind of republic made right after the Spanish left the isthmus on September 15th, 1821. The main event which sparked controversy was when Braulio Carillo, one of Costa Rica’s most famous personalities, changed the capital of the country from Guatemala City to San Jose. He then drew Francisco Morazan (Honduran national hero) from exile to then have Morazan executed in Costa Rican soil. As Morazan was the national hero of Honduras, naturally there started a schism between the two nations relations. Things cooled down until 1930, the first meeting of the two national teams, and that game ended in a 8-0 win by Costa Rica in Havana, Cuba. To this date that has been the biggest margin by either team. Over the years these two have been the best because of one thing, appearances in the World Cup. Currently Costa Rica has five appearances and that is the most in the isthmus, Honduras has three, El Salvador has two, Panama has one and the rest have a big fat zero appearances (Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize).
Till September 22nd there have been 65 games between the two nations and there is a balance in favor of Los Ticos. The current record is 24 wins for Costa Rica, 22 draws, and 19 wins for Los Catrachos. The one game that has been the most contentious was the last time they played because it included a World Cup ticket to Costa Rica and a near elimination to Honduras. In fact here’s how the two nations celebrated or cursed out that goal that sent Costa Rica to Russia 2018.
Honduras’s Diario Diez‘s reaction
Honduras’s TV coverage of the goal
Costa Rica’s Teletica Deportes TV coverage
Costa Rica’s Monumental Deportes radio coverage