A Chinese football fan has reportedly died after staying up on successive nights to watch the World Cup.

The 25-year-old man from Suzhou, near Shanghai, was found in front of his TV hours after the Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in their first round game on Friday, which finished at around 5am Chinese time, and doctors said his death could have been caused by sleep deprivation.

The time difference between Suzhou and Brazil is 11 hours, meaning fans have to stay up through the night to follow the World Cup, and it appears this particular enthusiast took things a little too far.

According to the Xinhua news agency, doctors said the death was related to an excessive lack of sleep, but couldn't be sure whether it was sheer exhaustion or a possible heart attack.

This is not a new problem in China, whose time zone rarely tallies with whoever is hosting the World Cup, and similar problems were reported for both the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.