Bangladesh on alert for Brazil, Argentina Copa clash



Police in a rural Bangladesh district have banned gatherings for Sunday's Copa America final between Brazil and Argentina following clashes between rival fans.

Longstanding rivalry between followers of the South American giants boiled over after Brazil's semi-final win over Peru to set up the final against Lionel Messi's Argentina, police said Thursday.

A dispute between two boys over which country played better football turned into a street battle with fans beating each other with sticks and throwing punches in Brahmanbaria, 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Dhaka, local police chief Mohammad Amranul Islam told AFP.

Islam said police were now on alert for Sunday's high-octane Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro, more than 15,000 kilometres away.

"We have told villagers they can't watch the matches on big screens. We have gone to villages and told them they can't hold any gathering during the final," Islam said.

Cricket is Bangladesh's main sport but the country of 168 million people becomes a hotbed of football fanaticism for the World Cup and Copa America.