Part of the British Empire until 1947, then part of Pakistan until 1971, the Bangladesh national football team played its first match in 1973.
Despite concerted efforts, football ranks a long way behind cricket in terms of popularity in the country. This is typical of many South Asian nations. The team did not play an opponent from outside of Asian until a 2001 match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bangladesh has entered world cup qualification since the 1986 tournament, but has never progressed to the finals. There have been few reasons to celebrate along the way, with mainly first round exits in recent years.
The team has had more success in the Asian Cup. They qualified for the competition in 1980 but failed to progress beyond the first round. They were, however, South Asian champions in 2003.