The dominant sport in Bangladesh is cricket, but this World Cup has shown just how passionate the South Asian nation's 162 million citizens are about football.
Even though they are around 9,000 miles away from South America, the majority of Bangladeshi people support either Argentina or Brazil. The folks who follow Senor Diego's men showed their colors during the group stages by starting a riot when power outages interrupted coverage of Argentina's duel with Nigeria. This over-the-top reaction, however, pales in comparison to that of the Brazil fans, who took Friday's defeat rather badly. AFP reports:
At least 15 people were injured and Bangladesh's largest hospital recorded a jump in cases of sedative poisoning following Brazil's shock departure from the World Cup, a doctor said Saturday.
The injured and poisoned were taken to the state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) after Brazil lost its quarterfinal match against Netherlands, a game watched by nearly 80 million Bangladeshi fans.
Firoz Ahmed, a doctor at the Dhaka hospital, said a large number of fans took an excess amount of sleeping pills as they "could not digest the loss" (nice choice of words, Doc). He also noted that many football fans were injured when rival Argentina and Brazil factions fought one another, most receiving head injuries caused by "sticks and stones."
While it's tragic that fans would take the Beautiful Game this seriously, we should be thankful that the Bangledshis have chosen to support two of the tournament's more successful sides. One can only imagine the reaction if they had chosen to follow Italy or France ...