's complete coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2002 World Cup


ANDRES ESCOBAR (1967-1994) 
Colombia, Defender
World Cup Record: 1994
  Escobar was shot 12 times by a gunman in Medellin. Shaun Botterill/Allsport

As a player Escobar was no more than a solid international defender, but the Colombian will forever be remembered as the man murdered for making a defender's mistake.

Colombia had arrived at the finals in the United States in 1994 with high expectations.

An impressive qualifying campaign had included a 5-0 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires and the Colombians played with a dazzling, carefree style that seemed to have been lost from the South American game. Valderrama, Asprilla and Rincon were drawing comparisons with the 1970 Brazilians, and Pele tipped them to win.

But Colombia's preparations were conducted against a backdrop of rumors that betting syndicates and drug cartels were exercising their influence over the squad. Coach Hernan Gomez was reported to have received death threats over matters of team selection.

Whatever the truth, Colombia's players were affected. They looked edgy and unfocused as they suffered a shock 3-1 loss in their opening game against Romania.

Escobar's moment of misfortune came in Colombia's next game against the United States. Stretching to cut out a cross, he deflected the ball into his own net. The U.S. went on to win 2-1 and the Colombians went home early.

In Medellin 10 days later, Escobar was shot 12 times by a gunman as he left a nightclub. With each bullet his assailant was reported by police to have shouted: "Goal."

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