World cup retro: the deadly owngoal of Andrés Escobar

Until the end of the world cup, we highlight weekly a memorable anecdote from the world cup history. This week: the murder of the Colombian captain Andrés Escobar, during the world cup of 1994.

Andrés Escobar pushes the ball inadvertently past his own goalkeeper. A fateful action. © belgaimage

It is a bitter day for Colombia, who is 26 June 1994. Despite a 2-0 victory in the third team contest against Switzerland is the world cup is over. Captain Andrés Escobar explains in the press: ‘life does not stop here. We need to continue. How difficult it is, we should rise again.’

A week later he is dead. In cold blood shot.

Andrés and Pablo

For the tournament fide Pele Colombia as one of the contenders to the title. That is not as crazy as people today would think when the results of that world cup viewing. The Colombians in 1994 about a golden generation with Andrés Escobar, Freddy Rincón, Fausto Asprilla,

the crazy goalkeeper Rene Higuita and blond curly Carlos Valderrama. The last qualifier they played in Buenos Aires against Argentina, that had to win to get directly to places. Colombia crushed the home side by 0-5 and got the verbouwereerde audience to a standing ovation.

But while the football blooms, bleeds the country. Colombia is in the grip of a drug war. The various drug cartels battle each other with incredible brute force. The biggest cartel, that of Medellín, led by Pablo Escobar , a namesake but not a relative of Andrés. Pablo Escobar has thousands of murders on his account, rivals, judges, politicians, police officers, and also a voetbalreferee. Because apart from a drug lord, he is also a sponsor of Atlético Nacional. Football should be in Colombia to launder money. The many millions which it is dealing, provide a strong league and a successful national team.

© belgaimage

In the early 90’s shows Pablo Escobar himself over to the authorities, in exchange for a very luxurious prison regime. He let there under a football field construction, where the top players be summoned for a game of. Some, like Higuita, do that openly and with a lot of fun – what the keeper besides his selection for the world CHAMPIONSHIPS costs. Others, such as Escobar, against their will, and only because they are ‘obliged’ to be.

When his regime threatens to become more stringent, takes on Pablo Escobar in 1993, the flight. But on 3 december he was killed by a posse of rival gang members with the support of the Colombian and American governments. The land can come to rest – one thinks. The opposite is true: now the boss is dead, feel like everyone is boss. There break months of countless shootings and bombings. In that state of emergency leaves the national team to the world cup in the USA.


The first game is a downer. Colombia loses against the leep counterend Romania of Gheorghe Hagi (1-3). The team is in a psychological crisis where it is not prepared.

In the hotel of the Colombians ‘ walk of death threats within, probably of criminal gamblers who lost a lot of money to have that first match. Luis Herrera, whose son shortly after the murder of Pablo Escobar was kidnapped, now gets to hear that his brother is killed in a ‘car accident’. Andrés Escobar holds as exemplary and profound faith to be the captain of his unfortunate team mate throughout the night company.

What a dream for footballers, a world cup, and changes for the Colombians gradually into a nightmare. Before the second poulematch, against host America, says coach Francisco Maturana that veteran Gabriel Gomez will not play. Maturana was the threat that otherwise the team would have been massacred…

In that mental state to enter the players on June 22, the field of the Rose Bowl. In spite of everything, self-confident, because the team had the U.S. previous reports in dozens of friendly matches. The yellow-blues also attract onvervaard in the attack, but the ball don’t want to be in.

And then comes minute 35. The American John Harkes gives a low cross from the left. Escobar wants to hit the ball with a sliding interception, but that failed. He pushed the leather over his losing goalkeeper Oscar Córdoba.

At that time, realize a lot of Colombians: our entire country goes. The nine-year-old nephew of Andrés, the son of his sister María, ask for tv bother, ” Mama, they go Andrés now killed?’ ‘No,’ replied Mary, ‘people are not killed because if they make a mistake. Throughout Colombia loves Andrés.’

Six bullets

After that second defeat brings the victory against Switzerland’t say more. Colombia is out. Escobar picks up the courage and speak in the press to the people.

A few days later. The world cup is still in full swing, but the Colombian team is back home. It is the evening of 1 July. Escobar finds that he is not allowed to cut away and decides to move in with some friends to have a drink. He also asks Herrera to join her, but who refuses, out of fear.

It is a long time quite cozy in El Indio Bar in Medellín. Just after midnight a few guys Escobar begin to mock his owngoal. Escobar leaves the building, but the group follows him and begins to scold. The soccer player is done, crawl into his car and runs up to the men to explain that his owngoal an unintentional error was made. The situation escalates. There is a revolver drawn and Escobar, while he was still at the wheel of his car, six bullets in the back.

The suspected perpetrators are Pedro and Juan Gallón, ex-gang members of Pablo Escobar to another cartel were defecting and were involved in the murder of the drug lord. But the brothers know the debt to transfer to them on one of their employees. Humberto Castro Muñoz confessed and gets 43 years in prison.

Although it has long been speculated that the killers duped gamblers would be, is that these may not work correctly. The football player called the evil upon himself because he and his assailants of answer served. And the ego of the brothers Gallón was after the installation of Pablo Escobar is so large, that they do not contradict did, not even the captain of the national team.

The tentative conclusion would therefore be: Andrés Escobar was murdered because of his owngoal, but without that owngoal, he would now probably still be alive.

The contest

United States – Colombia



June 22, 1994 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena


1-0 Escobar owngoal (35′)

2-0 Stewart (52′)

2-1 Valencia (90′)

© belgaimage

Football world cup 2018 in Russia

  • Toby Alderweireld: “not Yet trained on the system with four defenders’
  • Rafael Márquez: witwasser on recordjacht in Russia
  • Putin and Saudi crown prince during world cup opener his hit on Twitter
  • Our man in Russia: ‘Still no Vermaelen and Kompany, and that is becoming worrisome’
  • Essam El-Hadary: debut and leeftijdsrecord at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS(?)
  • Read all articles about world cup 2018 in Russia

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular