ESPN 30 for 30 | The Two Escobars


ESPN 30 for 30: The Two Escobars (2010)

The powerful documentary that was featured at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and as well as at Cannes, follows the intertwined lives of Pablo Escobar (infamous drug lord) and Colombian national team defender Andrés Escobar (El Caballero del Fútbol the gentleman of football).

The Two Escobars, by directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist, takes a look back at Colombia’s World Cup run leading up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States while paralleling the countries football association correlation to that of the country’s criminal gangs, notably the Medellín Cartel run by Pablo Escobar (unrelated to above mentioned footballer Andrés).  The documentary highlights the Colombian national squad that was at its peak as it approached the 1994 World Cup in the United States, going undefeated in world cup qualifying and having been named favorite for the prestigious trophy by footballing legend Pelé.

The forever infamous own goal occurred on the 22nd of June, during a match against the United States at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. While attempting to redirect a cross, Escobar unfortunately found the back of his own net and the USA would go on to win the match 2–1. This incident was one of the factors that led to Colombia early elimination from the tournament. Parallel to this disastrous campaign at the World Cup the country of Colombia was falling apart on itself. The drug wars were beginning to crumble the country and the search of Pablo Escobar lead to rival cartels feuding for power. Escobar was ultimately forced into hiding and is later shot and killed by Colombian officials.

The Gallón brothers (rival drug cartel to Pablo Escobar) were held accountable for the shooting death of national footballing icon Andrés Escobar and it is suggested in the documentary that had Pablo Escobar still been alive (he had earlier been shot and killed by Colombian Law Enforcement) Andrés Escobar would not have been targeted and killed. It is known that Pablo Escobar was a passionate supporter of the Colombian national football team and a friend to many of the players on the national squad. Escobar had also personally funded the construction of many of the football fields in the poorer regions of Medellín. In addition he had indirectly funded many of the costs associated with training the Colombian national team players. The players visited him in his prison compound prior to beginning their 1994 World Cup qualifying run.

Ultimately this documentary highlights the parallels of an unfortunate and untimely death of a footballing icon with that of the ruthless state of affairs that was brought upon by drug money and rival cartels yearning for power. The Colombian national team is presently ranked 4th in the world by FIFA leading up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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