A brief history of England vs Colombia ahead of World Cup clash

Bogota bracelets, scorpion kicks and dodgy barnets! A brief history of England vs Colombia as the Lionesses get set to write the next chapter in World Cup quarter-final clash

  • England vs Colombia has quite the footballing story throughout the years 
  • The Lionesses set to add a new chapter in their World Cup quarter-final match 
  • Click here to watch Mail Sport’s brand new show ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ in full 

What will be written in the next chapter of the Anglo-Colombian footballing story, no one can say for sure.

England’s Lionesses take on Colombia in a World Cup quarter-final on Saturday in the latest instalment between the two countries.  

So complicated, controversial and frankly cuckoo has the history been between these two nations, anything could happen when Sarina Wiegman’s team line up against Colombia in Sydney.

From conspiracy to tragedy, hairdos to scorpions, David Beckham to Kirsty MacColl, it is an extraordinary tale more than half a century in the making. 

Mail Sport looks back at some of the key chapters in the history of England and Colombia. 

Sarina Wiegman will lead her Lionesses against Colombia in Saturday’s World Cup clash 

Rene Higuita is one of Colombian football’s most famous faces and made his name against England

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The year was 1970 and the month May when England’s players travelled to Bogota for their first meeting with Colombia.

Captain Bobby Moore led the team to a 4-0 win and owned the headlines. Not for bagging a brace, but for allegedly bagging a bracelet that he had been accused of stealing from a jewellery store in the Hotel Tequendama, where the world champions were staying.

Shop assistant Clara Padilla claimed Moore pocketed the golden piece worth £625 when he and Bobby Charlton had wandered in to look for a present for Charlton’s wife, Norma.

Colombian coppers asked Moore to sign a ‘statement of innocence’. He did so, only to discover they planned on keeping him in custody. The store’s owner, Danilo Rojas, raged: ‘He may be the best footballer in the world, the most attractive, distinguished and most highly regarded of anyone, a friend of her British majesty. That doesn’t mean he’s not a kleptomaniac.’

After much politicising between the countries — even British prime minister Harold Wilson intervened — Moore was freed. He made it just in time to feature for England in their 1970 World Cup opener against Romania in Mexico. It led to claims of a conspiracy to unsettle the English ahead of defending their title, and thus began the Anglo-Colombian affair.

England captain Bobby Moore was famously accused of stealing a bracelet in Bogota 



England and Colombia next met in May 1988. It finished 1-1 at Wembley, Gary Lineker scoring and Andres Escobar equalising.

Six years on, Escobar scored again at the 1994 World Cup — an own goal in a 2-1 loss to the US which would cost Colombia their place at the tournament and Escobar his life. Ten days later, he was shot dead by three assailants in Medellin. 

He was 27 and murdered for making a mistake in a football match. Many nations contributed to a charity in his name with England playing their part by inviting Colombia to a friendly at Wembley in September 1995. 

Andres Escobar scored against England six years before he was murdered for a mistake he made during Colombia’s run at USA 94 


Mail Sport are launching a new 16-page 16-page sports pull-out in the Daily Mail this week MATCH DAY, in partnership with Sky Bet – and you can read it all on MailOnline.

It’s your definitive guide to all the weekend’s action and this week includes interviews with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Geoff Shreeves and Simon Jordan.



We’ll leave it to Jamie Redknapp to explain what happened in that 1995 friendly.

‘I was making my international debut,’ Redknapp tells Mail Sport. ‘We were drawing 0-0 when I was involved in a spot of showboating, albeit by accident. I chipped the ball towards goal and instead of catching it, Colombia’s goalkeeper Rene Higuita saved it with a scorpion kick.’

A bonkers moment from the tracksuit-bottomed, fuzzy-haired showboater.

A classic piece of showmanship from Rene Higuita that lit up a dull mid-nineties friendly 



Speaking of hair, England and Colombia met for the fourth time in June 1998 as David Beckham’s free-kick flew over the wall and into the goal, his first strike for his country. Thankfully the ball dodged the blond frizzy mop of Carlos Valderrama as England knocked Colombia out the 1998 World Cup.

Kirsty MacColl went on to write a song for her 2000 album Tropical Brainstorm called England 2 Colombia 0 about watching the game in a pub in Belsize Park with a man who turned out to be married with kids.

David Beckham announced his arrival on the world stage with this free-kick at France 98 



Fast-forward to 2005 and a fifth meeting, this time with Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 win in New Jersey, with only 22 minutes between his first and third as Peter Crouch enjoyed an England debut to remember.

Michael Owen scores one of his three goals against Colombia during a clash in New Jersey 



Colombians in the Premier League have had mixed results. Radamel Falcao? Flop. One of the great Colombian players never turned it on for Manchester United or Chelsea. Tino Asprilla? Now there was a player who went down in English folklore for the right reasons.

Asprilla was afforded a brisk welcome to Newcastle in February 1996, landing in a snowstorm. Thankfully he was wearing a fur coat in preparation and he became a memorable member of Kevin Keegan’s cast of entertainers, famously scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona in the Toon’s first Champions League match at St James’ Park in September 1997.

Ever the eccentric, he went on to sell his own brand of condoms. ‘Score a great goal for your partner,’ says the company’s social media today.

Tino Apsrilla’s spell at Newcastle is remembered fondly during the Magpies 1990s heyday 



At long last. For the first time, England won a penalty shootout at a World Cup. It was July 2018 in Moscow when a 1-1 draw led to the dreaded spot-kicks.

England won 4-3, Eric Dier scoring the decisive penalty, and the Daily Mail’s back page the next day boasted: Souvenir edition: England win on penalties.

The only time our Lionesses have met these historic opponents came at the 2015 World Cup when Karen Carney and Fara Williams scored in a 2-1 group-stage win.

Should this latest encounter go the distance, how we’d love another shootout celebration like 2018 to take up the next chapter of this burgeoning rivalry.

Eric Dier laid England’s World Cup shootout ghosts to rest with this winner at the 2018 finals 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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