The New York Times: Bhutan shock the world

The view  inside Bhutan's national stadium stadiumDSC_00034 Training
All photos © James Montague

After watching Bhutan beat Sri Lanka 1-0, I travelled to Bhutan to watch the second match five days later. The journey was a story in itself: From Colombo to Malaysia to Thailand to Paro Airport in Bhutan.

Bhutan is a tough country to get into. Tourists are charged a minimum spend of $250 a day each but the World Cup qualification match gave us an opportunity to get into the country and see the capital Thimphu for ourselves.

There was a welcoming party at the airport as the whole country seemed to be gripped by football fever. Rarely does Bhutan make international headlines but The Dragon’s victory had made everyone incredibly proud.

More than 20,000 people turned up at the national stadium in Thimphu to see Bhutan famously win 2-1 and make it to the next round.

Here’s my New York Times piece on the match, and the visit to a monastery with the team hours before kick off.

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