BOGOTA: Colombian police have undertaken an investigation into death threats published online against the national team’s World Cup midfielder Carlos Sanchez,.

Colombia lost their opening game at the finals by 2-1 to Japan after playing almost all the game with 10 men following the Aston Villa player’s expulsion after only three minutes.

Sanchez, described as “one of Colombia’s most important players” by national manager Jose Pekerman, reached up an arm to block a goal-bound effort from Shinji Kagawa and was shown the second-fastest red card in World Cup history. Subsequently a number of social media users issues comments threatening his life.

Colombia is particularly sensitive to the issue because defender Andres Escobar was shot dead in 1994, after scoring an own goal at the World Cup in a match against the host United States.

Local media confirmed that the Colombian police had assigned a cyber-crime unit to investigate the threats against Sanchez ahead of Colombia’s third Group H match tomorrow¬†against Poland in Kazan.

Sanchez will miss the game because of suspension.