Few people would ever confuse El Salvador with the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency located in the Irish Sea. But it happened this weekend at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.
At a friendly international match between Argentina and El Salvador, the stadium blasted out the Argentine national anthem without issue.
But when it came to the Salvadoran anthem—the Himno Nacional which opens with an 1812 Overture-like flourish—the FedEx Field announcers couldn’t seem to find the right music, despite the fact that a recording is readily available on Wikipedia.
Instead, they played what USA Today identified as the anthem of the Isle of Man, Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin.
At first, the Salvadoran players stood respectfully, with their hands over their chests, but after a few moments, many of them looked around in disbelief, lowered their hands and walked off.
The bad mojo continued on the pitch, as the Salvadorans proceeded to lose, 2-0, on goals by Ever Banega and Federico Mancuello, despite the fact that Argentine superstar Leo Messi sat out the game with a foot bruise.
The sports division of the Cárdenas Marketing Network (CMN), which is promoting the Argentinian national squad’s friendlies in the U.S., issued a statement shortly after the gaffe stating that “the company will extend immediately a direct apology to the Salvadorian national team.”
On top of that, they apologized to “the entire Salvadorian community that resides in and out of the Washington, D.C., area.” The city happens to have the largest concentration of people from that country in the United States.
The statement called the swapped anthem an “honest mistake,” adding that it was “not done with malicious intentions and the company will be sure to address this with the right parties to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
The incident was reminiscent of the mix up at the 2012 London Olympics when, at a match involving the North Korean women's soccer team, the South Korean flag was displayed on the stadium screens.
Argentina next plays Ecuador Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Wednesday.
The same day, El Salvador plays Guatemala at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. It might be worth it for the Salvadoran team to bring along an MP3 of the Himno Nacional with them.
Like us on Facebook