Honduran President Porfirio Lobo declared a national holiday today after the Central American country’s soccer team snatched a World Cup berth with a 2-2 tie against Jamaica.
Honduras joined fellow Latin American teams Chile and Ecuador in qualifying for the 2014 soccer championship yesterday, the first time the country of eight million people won two consecutive spots in the World Cup finals. Honduras last qualified in 2009, when the country was divided over a coup that ousted former president Manuel Zelaya. Before that, Honduras hadn’t reached the finals of the tournament since 1982.
“We’ve won and Honduras is going to the 2014 World Cup, we can celebrate this historic day for our great nation,” Lobo said in a statement following the victory.
In the 2010 finals in South Africa, Honduras was eliminated in the first round after losing to Chile, Spain and Switzerland. In 1982, they failed to advance after tying with Northern Ireland and Spain and losing to Yugoslavia.
Honduras’s victory forces Mexico into a playoff against New Zealand in order to qualify for its sixth straight World Cup in Brazil next year.