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Family to attend match

Rio de Janeiro: The family of Andres Escobar will attend Colombia’s World Cup quarter-final against Brazil on Friday, after 20 years since the defender was murdered following his own goal in the 1994 tournament.

Carlos Valderrama tweeted on Wednesday to remember his former captain. “Andres Escobar — always in our hearts,” he wrote. “We’ll never forget your kindness, your humility and your fight. I miss you bro, I miss you.”

Escobar’s sister, Maria Ester, and brother, Jose, are currently in Rio de Janeiro and will be wearing a No. 2 shirt with the name ‘Escobar’ at Friday’s quarter-final against Brazil. “He was our little brother, our pride and joy,” she said.

“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.

“I wanted to escape Medellin, because there Andres’s death will be talked about in all the news programmes and papers and it would be very tough. I’d rather spend it (the anniversary of the murder) here, with the family, and then hold a memorial service when we go back home.”

Marcelo’s own goal for Brazil against Croatia triggered conflicting emotions.

“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,” said Maria Ester.