Despite the fact that its team has never qualified for the World Cup, football fans in Bangladesh are adopting other country’s teams as their own, stoking bitter rivalries.
Last week, rival supporters of Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar fought with machetes in the town of Bandar. One man and his son were critically wounded in the incident, according to police reports.
The South Asian country, known for its love of cricket, is currently awash with flags and football strips: in Dhaka’s Magura district one tailor has made a German flag 4ft long to hang above his shop.
Even the rickshaws are painted with their driver’s favourite team’s colours.
Most Bangladeshis support Argentina or Brazil, despite the distance and lack of ties between Bangladesh and the South American countries.
The Latin love affair dates back to the 1982 World Cup, the first to be televised live in Bangladesh.
Four years later, in 1986 Argentinian Diego Maradona’s match-winning goal cemented Bangladesh’s obsession and created the Argentina-Brazil rivalry, still going strong today.
“Bengalis are an emotional lot and the South Americans fit the bill,” says Manzur Huq, a Bangladeshi businessman.
This year is not the first time World Cup fever has spilled over into violence.
In 2014, in the northern town of Hatibanda, 18-year old Milon Hossain was killed when a fight broke out between rival groups of Argentina and Brazil supporters.
Eight years ago, during the 2010 World Cup, riots erupted when power cuts disrupted television coverage. The government was forced to order factories to close to avoid any further outages.
“Every game matters,” says 21-year Mahmudur Rahman Twlip, a student from Chattogram, in southern Bangladesh, who has been a devoted Brazil fan since he was seven.
“It is more than just a tournament: The World Cup makes Bangladeshis happy, ecstatic even.”
Not everyone is as enthusiastic. SM Imamul Haq, the head of Barisal University, has banned students from flying foreign nations’ flags on the campus in southern Bangladesh. Like some others, he feels it is unpatriotic to raise foreign flags.
World Cup mania shows no signs of abating. For Mr Twlip the only thing more exciting than watching Brazil win this year, will be if Bangladesh competes in The World Cup one day. “Deep inside,” he says, “that’s what everyone is waiting for.”