World Cup Special
FIFA has invited the Escobar family to watch their side play in Brazil. Colombia, unbeaten so far, have made it to the quarter-finals for the first time and will face Brazil in the last-8 on July 4 in Fortaleza.
Escobar was shot dead on July 2, 1994 in Medellin, Colombia. This incident happened just over a week after his infamous own goal against USA in the World Cup. USA won that match 2-1 and as a result of that defeat, Colombia were knocked out of the tournament.
"He was our little brother, our pride and joy," the late defender's sister Maria Ester Escobar told FIFA's official website today.
"Sometimes I think it'd be better if people didn't remember Andres every day, because it's really painful. But he left a mark, so it's normal," another of Escobar's siblings, Jose said.
Maria Ester explains how the opening match of this World Cup between Brazil and Croatia brought back "sad and distressing memories" for her. She said this because the game witnessed an own goal from Brazil's Marcelo.
"That brought back very sad, distressing memories, but it helped hammer home that it's part and parcel of the game, that these things happen all the time. We're really happy to be here and to have the chance to share in the joy that football can bring, along with everyone else who is here," she explained.
The tragic loss of Escobar did not stop the family from associating themselves with the game. For them, "Life doesn't stop here", as the last words written by Escobar five days before his death.
"Twenty years is a long time and it's really upsetting to think about, but I prefer to thank God for having given us the chance to have him with us for 27 years, for lending him to us. His life was cut short, but he did important things in that time," said Maria Ester as the family has so far attended all of Colombia's matches at World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
Escobar's former team-mates Faryd Mondragon and Mairo Yepes are currently in Colombian squad at the World Cup. "Andres is with them and the rest of the team in spirit," said the siblings.
Their message is, "there is no place for violence." "People should enjoy football with passion, but never forgetting it's a game. (What happened to Andres) should serve as a cautionary tale: there is no place for violence. Football should unite the country around a message of peace and love."
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