7 injured as Brazil, Argentina football fans clash in Bangladesh

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Illustration: KVM Unni/ Mathrubhumi

Dhaka: A huge brawl in Bangladesh between rival fans of the Argentina and Brazil football teams left at least seven people injured, police said Thursday.

Both South American giants have large followings in the South Asian nation, and occasionally the rivalry has boiled over into violence.

Up to 300 people were involved in a Wednesday brawl that saw fans hurl rocks and bricks at each other on a cricket ground outside the capital Dhaka, police inspector Masud Rana told AFP.

Officers said the clash began after an argument over the strength of the two sides, with Argentina fans praising the team's victories over Italy and Estonia in recent weeks.

Police said they had yet to make any arrests over the incident.

Bangladesh is better known for its fanatical cricket following, with the national team earning a place in the game's top Test, one-day and T20 competitions.

But the country is also home to millions of Brazil and Argentina fans, with soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar worshipped on par with Bollywood celebrities.

During the World Cup, rival supporters hold massive processions to celebrate the teams, stage prayers for their side's victory, and hoist the flags of both South American nations in towns across Bangladesh to show their allegiance. AFP

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