Football fever grips Bangladesh players | The Daily Star

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12:00 AM, June 26, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:49 AM, June 26, 2021

Football fever grips Bangladesh players

Since returning from Doha following the Joint Qualifiers for World Cup and Asian Cup, footballers of the national team have wasted no time in engaging themselves to domestic circuit's club commitments at a time when all of footballing fraternity surf the waves of excitement of the ongoing editions of European Championship and Copa America.

They, however, are squeezing time to watch their favourite teams' performance in between training for Bangladesh Premier League, scheduled to kick off today.

"Interesting quality matches are being played every day in the Euros although I am only keenly following the matches of my favourites -- Denmark. I watched all of their games even though I am used to sleeping after having my supper," said national team captain Jamal Bhuiyan, who grew up in the Scandinavian country.

"I think Italy have been playing the finest football in Euro, still I reckon France as the overwhelming favourite ahead of Germany and Portugal," Jamal said.

Unlike Jamal, centre-back Tapu Barman is following Copa America and managing time to watch his favourite side -- Argentina -- by rising up in the morning, earlier than usual. 

"I'm watching the matches of both Euro and Copa America, especially the matches of my favourite Argentina," said Tapu.

"It is really tough now for a professional footballer like me to manage time to watch Euro and Copa games whereas during my childhood I just couldn't wait to enjoy these matches."

The Bashundhara Kings defender added: "I guess it is the first time that both Euro and Copa are being played simultaneously which really becomes a big reward for football fans and footballers alike."

"The matches at the Euros are captivating because there are plenty of ups and downs in the group stages. You see, Spain already drew twice, Denmark qualified while Italy have a hundred percent winning record so far but still Italy is not close to being the front-runner because there are France, Germany and Portugal," Tapu opined.

"In Copa America, Brazil are a far superior side than Argentina who really need to improve further to maintain their lead in the group stage."

Abahani midfielder Sohel Rana said, "Euros are being discussed more than Copa America which is somewhat limited to the matches featuring Brazil and Argentina whereas Euros provides a flavour of World Cup in relation to the presence of crowds at its galleries."

"Though there are little differences among the teams in Europe, the smaller teams fought remarkably well to give the superior sides a run for their money by showing a good defensive display which, more often than not, matched their offensive game as well."

Sohel is largely impressed with the performance of Denmark while he believes France, Germany and Italy are among the hot favourites to clinch the Euro 2020.

Chittagong Abahani midfielder Rakib Hossain however, is following both the Euro and Copa America albeit only Brazil's games from the latter.

"Euro is more interesting because smaller teams sometimes surprise big teams," said Rakib, a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, who considers France and Germany as the title contenders.

Like many others, Sheikh Russel KC goalkeeper Ashraful Islam Rana has limited viewing Euro and Copa America matches to make sure the club training in morning stays unhindered. Yet, he has regularly watched highlights of games later on.

"As a professional, there is no regret in missing out on watching live matches of Euro and Copa America because I prioritize training in the morning for my club and besides, there is opportunity to watch those matches afterwards," said Rana.

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