The massive celebrations in Bangladesh that have been greeting Argentina's World Cup victories are being reciprocated by Albiceleste fans through a Facebook group in support of the Asian country's cricket team, which by Friday was already hovering around 145,000 members.
"In the last few weeks we've seen a lot of videos from Bangladesh in Argentina, people with Argentina flags and T-shirts, all going out to celebrate and watch the games. They were cheering for our team as if they were Argentines – they were a parallel Argentina," Dan Lande, the group's creator, told AFP.
"There was so much love that it touched us and I felt that somehow we had to be grateful for those gestures. When the World Cup started I joined several Facebook groups of Argentina fans in Bangladesh. So it occurred to me to create a group of Argentine fans in Bangladesh, as a reciprocity with the sport that is important to them," said the economist from Buenos Aires and world travel writer, aged in his
The group was set up a week ago, just before the Argentina-Australia Round of 16 match, and is constantly adding members. The first day saw 30,000 and Lande and the group's creation even made headlines in the Bangladeshi press.
"I don't know anything about cricket. I like football. I think I saw a cricket match only once, when I was travelling in Sri Lanka. But I don't understand the rules, I don't know how to play. The idea of cricket fans was symbolic, it started almost as a joke," he admits.
"But if they are fans of our football in Bangladesh, we have to be fans of their cricket. The Facebook group was filled with Argentines, none of whom understand the sport, but that's the least of it, what's important is the bonds of friendship," he said.
The group has also found an echo in Bangladesh, where thousands of members have also joined to interact with the Argentines. They also take the opportunity to share images of the Asian country, its culture, gastronomy and customs.
One of the Bangladeshis who have joined is Khandkar Mehdi Tushar, a 22-year-old university student from Dhaka, who also shared his experience with AFP.
"I heard about the opening of the group on the Internet and I joined. We are two different countries but with the same soul. We are brothers and sisters. I would like to see relations between Bangladesh and Argentina develop," he says.
He is one of those Scaloneta fans who attended the mass celebrations in Dhaka and the other big cities of the country.
"I always put the Argentina flag on the roof of our house and I always wear the shirt" to watch the matches. On Friday he will do so again to watch the quarter-final against the Netherlands.
Bangladesh are only 192nd out of 211 in the FIFA rankings, but in cricket they however between seventh and ninth in the rankings.