Why was Escobar murdered after Colombia’s exit in 1994 World Cup

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Days after returning home from the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Colombia defender Andres Escobar was shot dead in his hometown of Medellin.

The murder ranks as one of the most shocking moments in World Cup history and cast a shadow over the rest of the tournament.


It appeared to be directly linked to the inadvertent own-goal he scored that gave the host country the lead in their group match at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles on June 22. Colombia eventually lost the game 2-1, and with it any chance of progressing further in the tournament.

The team, which included talents such as captain Carlos Valderrama and striker Faustino Asprilla, faced widespread criticism at home for failing to get out of a relatively easy group that also included Romania and Switzerland.

On July 2, with the World Cup in full swing, the 27-year-old Escobar was out at a bar in Medellin, a city then teeming with drug traffickers. Escobar was harangued about the own-goal, and was then shot repeatedly.

The motive for the murder has never been clearly established but many still link it to the fury of Colombian drug lords at losing a gambling fortune because of the country's surprisingly early World Cup exit.

Humberto Munoz Castro, who had connections to a powerful Colombian cartel, was arrested and confessed to the killing. He refused to implicate his bosses. Found guilty, Munoz was initially handed a 43-year jail term. He served only 11 years.

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