A chronology of calamities

MARC-VIVIEN FOE who died after collapsing suddenly in the semi-final between Cameroon and Colombia in the recent Confedarations Cup is the first player to expire during the course of a major world event.

However, many other instances of players meeting with death, due to natural causes or otherwise, have been recorded over the years. Here is a chronology:

2002: Brazilian striker, Marcio dos Santos, 28, died of a heart attack just hours after scoring a goal for Peruvian side Deportivo Wanka.

1990: Dave Longhurst, York City striker, collapsed during a league match against Lincoln City, in the first such instance in the British league, to meet with a tragic end. He was just 25.

1989: 24-year-old Nigerian international Samuel Okwaraji collapsed 10 minutes from the end of a World Cup qualifier against Angola in Lagos and died from cardiac failure.

1987: French international midfielder Emmanuel Petit's 20-year-old brother, Oliver, died during a league match.

1973: Porto player Fernando Pascoal das Neves, known as "Pavao", collapsed and died during a league match in the 13th minute of the 13th game of the season.

1963: Constantin Tabarcea, 26, playing for Petrolul Ploiesti, collapsed and died during a first division Romanian league match.


Lightning can pose serious risks on the exposed pitches used for amateur football and can even strike with deadly results at the grounds of professional clubs.

In February 1967, one player died and four others were seriously injured when lightning struck during an English amateur Cup quarterfinal between Highgate United and Enfield.

Goalkeeper Erik Jongbloed of DWS, Holland, was killed by lightning during a match in September, 1984 — in front of his father, the former National goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed.

In August 2001, two players were killed and 10 others severely injured when a bolt of lightning struck during a professional match in Guatemala. Last October, Colombian striker Goevanny Cordoba and former international player Hermann Gaviria died after being struck during a training session.


Deaths from injuries suffered on the pitch are extremely rare — there is a record of only one in the professional game in more than 70 years.

In September 1931 at Glasgow, John Thompson, 23, the Celtic and Scotland goalkeeper, dived at the feet of Rangers forward Sam English and suffered a fractured skull. He died later in hospital without regaining consciousness.


One of the most infamous football deaths of recent years did not happen on the pitch, but Andres Escobar of Colombia was murdered as a direct result of what happened on it. He scored an own goal when Colombia lost 2-1 to the United States in the 1994 World Cup and was murdered soon after by a hitman of a gambling syndicate.