Vile death threats sent to Colombian players who missed penalties against England

Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman, left, and England head coach Gareth Southgate, right, comfort Colombia’s Mateus Uribe. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman, left, and England head coach Gareth Southgate, right, comfort Colombia’s Mateus Uribe. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The two Colombian footballers who missed penalties to hand England victory in their World Cup tie have received death threats.

Mateus Uribe and Carlos Bacca were targeted with disgusting abuse within minutes of the conclusion of the penalty shootout in Moscow.

Uribe’s penalty rebounded off the crossbar while Jordan Pickford saved superbly to deny Bacca from the spot.

The threats emerged just one day after the 24th anniversary of the murder of former Colombian international Andres Escobar.

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Escobar was shot dead after scoring an own goal at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

It leaves some Colombians fearing a repeat of those events as vile abuse was aimed at Uribe and Bacca.

Bacca was warned against returning home after the tournament while one sinister poster on Twitter told Uribe he had played his final game for the team.

Police were already investigating death threats sent to defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez after his red card in Colombia’s opening game with Japan.

Escobar’s brother, Sachi, spoke earlier this week to express his worry about the potential of another murder after learning of the news about Sanchez.

He said: “As a brother who has gone through this, I know what must be going through their heads, and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that.

Andres Escobar during the 1994 World Cup.
Andres Escobar during the 1994 World Cup.

“Carlos must be feeling both sad for the mistake he made, and very afraid, and his family too.

“My brother never received any threats, they just shot him dead in the most cowardly way.

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“The fact that people are still allowed to say these things on social network sites, even threaten him with death… shows me that nothing good came out of Andres’ death, nothing was learned.

“I want to send an important message to those people who think things can be resolved with violence, and with weapons, that they can take someone’s life just because they make a mistake, in this case the life of a football player.

“Football should be a vehicle of peace and social transformation, and at the end of the day, it is just a game.

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“But I truly hope that, if Colombia failed to meet these expectations, then the tragedy that happened to my brother doesn’t repeat itself. God forbid that it happens again.’

“These people are just lowlifes who are not real Colombian football fans, who should be arrested and thrown into jail.”