For football fans around the world, it was an unexpected, shocking moment. For Andrés Escobar, it was the mistake that cost him his life.
SBS Guide

13 Jul 2018 - 11:33 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2018 - 11:34 AM

It was the 1994 World Cup. Atlético Nacional player Andrés Escobar accidentally scored a goal against his own team. The next day, he was found dead. 

The documentary The Two Escobars explores the criminal interest in Colombian football and how it led to Andrés Escobar's death. Did Andrés crumble under the pressure? or was it a deliberate act?


In the opening minutes of this compelling documentary, an announcer is heard to say that Andrés Escobar is 'no relation' to the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. But, very quickly, it is apparent that the fate of Andrés was sealed the moment that Pablo took an interest in supporting the local football scene.

Pablo's interest in football launched what was referred to as 'Narco-soccer'. Prior to his interest, despite a passion for football, Colombia didn't have the money to compete at a global level. But as Pablo and other drug lords began bringing money into the country, football became a tug of war among the drug lords. Running football teams became both a source of pride, as well as a way to clean some money for the competing drug lords - El Mexicano with his Millonarios, Pablo Escobar with Medellín and Atlético Nacional, and Miguel Rodriguez with América de Cali.

US DEA's Tom Cash agent explains in the documentary that enthusiasm for soccer blinded many to the criminal element fueling the sport. "In Colombia" Cash says, "Soccer was religion. It was sacred ground. The Drug Enforcement Administration tracked traffickers from all around the world to soccer championships, but we were the only ones who connected the dots.... It was speak no evil, see no evil."

It wasn't as though the players could plead ignorance - the players knew who the owners were. They'd go to their homes for parties. 


Pablo Escobar died the year before the infamous World Cup game. When he was was killed, Medellín was left in chaos with violence on the streets as people rushed to fill the power vacuum. Andrés and his fiance were almost killed in an explosion at a plaza. 

It was the hostile environment that Pablo sparked that eventually led to Andrés death.

After Colombia lost the first game in the 1994 World Cup, there was considerable pressure placed upon the team - they needed to beat the USA in order to save face. Lots of people had lost money on the first game and immediately death threats were made to players. The team returned back to their hotel to find that someone had programmed the hotel TV's to display the death threats. Police were called to protect families amid the chaos and riots at home that were sparked by the loss.

"It is unthinkable to them to lose to the United States"
- Announcer

As the documentary begins, we are shown Andrés mistake and left with the question as to why it happened. The same footage is shown again toward the end as we watch on with new eyes. Football encourages an extreme intensity of passion, but as The Two Escobars demonstrates, when that passion is amplified through the filter of criminal intent, it can end with disastrous consequences.

Stream The Two Escobars now at SBS On Demand:

More at SBS On Demand:
The Handmaid's Tale and Atlanta represent heavily in Emmy Award nominations
Atlanta and The Handmaid's Tale are considered frontrunners with multiple nominations after winning in key categories at last year's Emmy Awards.
The Handmaid's Tale is over for season 2 - what do I watch now?
Looking for the next great drama to obsess over? It's okay - we have suggestions.
Eyes on Gilead - 'The Word'

We have just watched episode 13, which is unlucky for some but mostly for us, because it’s the finale of The Handmaid's Tale! Oh, and it's also not that great for Serena...  The death of Eden sheds new light on her character and causes the women of Gilead to consider the legacy they’re leaving for the next generation of Gilead girls. Emily learns more about her new Commander - and Aunt Lydia gets much more than she bargained for when she pays a house call. The Marthas of Gilead have their moment - and we're not crying, you’re crying - and in the final moments of the season, June faces a difficult decision. There's so much to unpack, and we've got a full panel for the occasion. 

Were Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher environmentalist heroes?
Based on SBS doc 'How Reagan And Thatcher Saved The World', it sure seems like it.
Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's Wellington Paranormal is coming to SBS VICELAND
Wellington Paranormal is The X-Files meets Police Ten 7. And it's coming to SBS VICELAND.
'Friday The 13th' and the history of the slasher film
Listen to "Crazy Ralph", kids, and don't go to camp. You'll just become another '80s slasher film statistic.