England vs Colombia: Ambassador hits out at The Sun over ‘sad’ front page with cocaine pun ahead of World Cup clash

Jack de Menezes

The Colombian Embassy has hit out The Sun after the British tabloid newspaper ran a front page that mocked the South American country for its historic drug-trafficking, ahead of Tuesday evening’s World Cup 2018 clash with England.

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The Sun’s front page headline ahead of the last-16 encounter in Moscow read “Go Kane”, a pun based around the word cocaine, the substance that was at the root of Colombia’s illegal drug trade since the late 1970s that was dominated by various cartel gangs.

Along with the headline, the front page also read: “As 3 Lions face nation that gave world Shakira, great coffee and er, other stuff”.

The choice of words was widely condemned ahead of the match, which sees England attempting to win a first World Cup knockout game in 12 years, and the Ambassador of Colombia to the United Kingdom, Néstor Osorio-Londoño, hit out at the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper for its choice of words.

“Is rather sad that they use such a festive and friendly environment, as the World Cup, to target a country and continue to stigmatize it with a completely unrelated issue,” Mr Osorio, who has held the position as ambassador to the UK since 2014, told The Independent.

“Respect, fair play and joy for the game is all that matters tonight. We’ll be cheering for Colombia and hoping we can all enjoy a great match.”

The page received widespread criticism on social media too, with the popular #tomorrowspaperstoday tweet – which are sent out each night by staff at the BBC – receiving more than 100 replies, most of which were negative.

“What an embarrassment @TheSun,” read one response. Another said: “Truly embarrassing.”

Twitter user @olwiggy said: “This red top rag is a complete embarrassment. To write off a country with a rich history stretching back to 3000BC is disgraceful... and to attempt a pun with cocaine is simply offensive. They should apologise.”

Néstor Osorio-Londoño, the Ambassador of Colombia to the UK, has criticised The Sun's front page (Getty)

When contacted by The Independent, a Sun spokesman said: “We, like the Ambassador, are looking forward to a cracking game tonight. Colombia is a great footballing nation and this team particularly impressive.”