As Argentina gets ready for its next match in the Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup, they have the support of an entire country behind them. Or, well, two countries – at least. Bangladesh fans have gone viral, once again, for their support of Argentina’s national team, and their history of doing so goes back a long time.
In Bangladesh, a country whose own national team has yet to qualify for the World Cup, Argentina is almost the secondary national team and has been so since Diego Maradona gave Argentina the trophy in 1986. It wasn’t just that Maradona was good, and Argentina won, it was that 1986 was the first time the country’s then-only television channel had the rights to show the knockout games live.
That was enough for the love affair to begin. It didn’t hurt that to win the Cup in 1986 Argentina beat England with two high-profile Maradona goals – one considered the greatest goal of all time, and another dubbed “The Hand of God.” If there is one place that celebrates England’s losses is a former British colony.
And then came Lionel Messi.
But Messi has one advantage over Maradona, at least when it comes to global stardom: we live in an age where information is readily available. Score a beautiful goal? It’ll not just be on TV, there will be multiple replays, entire shows dedicated to your performance, Twitter, and Tik Tok videos and likely a Youtube compilation too.
And if you add a generation that first fell in love with the game thanks to Maradona to one that has been able to enjoy it because of Messi, you get the kind of celebrations Bangladeshi fans went viral for in the last World Cup – and that was seen at Dhaka University after Argentina’s win against Poland, which secured their spot in the knockout stages.
And in the stands of that Argentina – Poland game, signs that the love Bangladesh has for the Argentinian national team is very much appreciated could be seen. Some Argentina fans were seen holding the flag of Bangladesh, another sign that, at its best, fútbol really does bring people together.