June 20, 2021

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Bangladesh’s top five matches in the World Cup qualifiers

Bangladesh is fighting for the World Cup again. Bangladesh will start the last round of the qualifiers on June 3 with a match against Afghanistan. Football and World Cup are two completely opposite words for Bangladesh. Judging by the quality of football, the World Cup final is an illusory dream for Bangladesh football, but the fight to touch that dream is not something new for us. That started in 1975. From then on, Bangladesh was present in every World Cup selection. Although these battles against the big teams of Asia are to save honor, Bangladesh has shown a glimpse many times. The country’s football fans were mesmerized by the victory. Before the three return matches in Group E of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Doha, the sweet memories of the past will not feel bad ….

In 1975, Bangladesh played in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time under the leadership of Ashish Bhadra.

In 1975, Bangladesh played in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time under the leadership of Ashish Bhadra.
Photo: Collected

Bangladesh-Indonesia, 1975, Dhaka

Bangladesh played in the 1986 Mexico World Cup qualifiers for the first time under the leadership of Ashish Bhadra. The games took place in March-April 1985. The group mates were Indonesia, Thailand and India. Ashish-Johnny-Chunnu-Aslam-Wasimra won two for the first time. Bangladesh beat Indonesia 2-1 at the Dhaka Stadium after a 1-0 win over equalizer Thailand at the time. In that memorable match, Ashrafuddin Chunnu scored a great goal from a free kick. The winning goal came from Kaiser Hamid.

Bangladesh-Thailand, 1989, Dhaka

Bangladesh was in a tough group in the qualifying round of the 1990 Italy World Cup. China, Thailand with Iran. Iran-China has always been the top power in Asian football. Bangladesh lost 1-0 to Bangkok in their first match against Thailand which is within reach. Bangladesh forgot that sadness by defeating Thailand 3-1 in the return match on home soil. Many will remember a goal scored by Rumman bin Wali Sabbir in that match at Dhaka Stadium. The playmaker, one of the best in the history of the country, scored a goal by cutting four Thai defenders with a ball from almost midfield. The other two goals were scored by Satyajit Das Rupu and Wasim Iqbal. This match will be different due to the performance of Daputa in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's first 'World Cup' team.  Stand (from left) Johnny, Elias, Baten, Chunnu, Azmat, Alok.  Sitting (from right) Mohsin, Wasim, Khurshid Babul, Aslam, Ashish Bhadra.

Bangladesh’s first ‘World Cup’ team. Stand (from left) Johnny, Elias, Baten, Chunnu, Azmat, Alok. Sitting (from right) Mohsin, Wasim, Khurshid Babul, Aslam, Ashish Bhadra.
Photo: Collected

Bangladesh-Iran, 1989, Tehran

This match is memorable in Bangladesh football. Iran was a strong team in Bangladesh’s group in the 1990 World Cup qualifiers. They were one of the biggest contenders to advance to the World Cup finals. But in front of 60-70 thousand spectators at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Bangladesh held that Iran. Desperate Iran won the match with a goal added at the very end. If Iran had not won the match, it would have been difficult for them to become group champions. That goal digested at the very last moment was unfortunate. The defense of Bangladesh led by Kaiser Hamid could not clear a free kick on the right side. The Iranian forward headed the ball through the middle of four defenders and sent it into the net. Bangladesh lost 2-1 against Iran in the first leg in Dhaka.

Bangladesh goalkeeper Aminul Haque in the match against Saudi Arabia in the 2001 World Cup qualifiers

Bangladesh goalkeeper Aminul Haque in the match against Saudi Arabia in the 2001 World Cup qualifiers
Photo: AFP

Bangladesh-Mongolia, 2001, Dammam

Winning this match was expected. In the first leg, Bangladesh team was criticized for drawing 2-2 against Mongolia. In the second leg, Alfaz-Hasan Al Mamun-Matiur Munnara were desperate to win. In the end, Bangladesh won 3-0. However, this match has been separated due to the extraordinary performance of Alfaz Ahmed. Alfaz scored the first goal with a great shot by controlling the ball through the middle of four or five defenders from outside the Mongolian box. The second goal was scored in a single attempt. With the ball alone on the right edge, Alfaz pushed back the pace of the Mongolian defenders. The third goal came from Roknuzzaman Kanchan’s foot.

This team of Bangladesh played great in the 1989 World Cup qualifiers.

This team of Bangladesh played great in the 1989 World Cup qualifiers.
Photo: Collected

Bangladesh-Lebanon, 2011, Dhaka

This match will be considered as the best match of Bangladesh in the World Cup qualifiers in any judgment. Zahid Hassan Emilia created a surprise by defeating a strong team like Lebanon 2-0. However, this victory also created a big regret. Bangladesh lost to Lebanon 4-0 in the first round in Beirut. If he could have kept the goal difference less in that match, Bangladesh would have had a chance to play at a higher level in the qualifying round. If we could go to the next level, Bangladesh would be one of the top 15 teams in Asian football at that time. In that match, Bangladesh went ahead with the goal of Mithun Chowdhury. The second goal was scored by Zahid Hasan Emily with a perfect one head.