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World Cup 2018

Anger in Colombia over English newspaper front page headline

Tabloid newspaper The Sun used a play on words to combine a message of encouragement to star striker Harry Kane and cocaine, which didn't go down well.
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Portada de 'The Sun' del martes 3 de julio de 2018.

The front page of English tabloid The Sun on the day of the World Cup match between Colombia and England has caused outrage in the South American country.

Cocaine inference not enjoyed in Colombia

The newspaper - one that has a controversial history thanks to coverage of stories such as the Hillsborough disaster - chose national hero Harry Kane as the face of their cover. This in itself is not controversial but they used a play on words to connect the term 'cocaine' as a natural association with Colombia.

Portada de 'The Sun' del martes 3 de julio de 2018.

Portada de 'The Sun' del martes 3 de julio de 2018.

"As 3 Lions face nation that gave world Shakira, great coffee and er, other stuff, we say... Go Kane!", read the headline. A message of encouragement for the Spurs striker but those final two syllables sound incredibly like the white powder made from the leaves of the coca plant.

Colombian revenge

Although many of the British readership may be avid fans of the series Narcos, a crime drama based on Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, the comparison did not go down well in the South American country.

"It's vulgar," said Caracol TV, with others saying the want to exact revenge in the game. "Colombia's response will be on the pitch," says El Espectador.

As some people have been suggesting, how would the UK media and people have reacted had Colombian papers carried headlines regarding England's obesity problem, for example. With others claiming it is just an innocent joke, no matter how you cut it, it still has the potential to be seen as quite rude. And plenty of supporters from both sides have taken to social media to show their disgust.


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