PIZZA, pasta, olives, Mario Balotelli, Rome, Pavarotti,  the Mafia…it’s not hard to reel off a list of things relating to Italy, England’s first opponents in the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

But your knowledge of their next opposition – Uruguay - might begin and end with Luis Suarez, who is expected to line up against the Three Lions for tonight’s crucial Group D match in Sao Paolo.

Using a few points of comparison between the two countries, we’re pretty confident we’ve worked out the likely winner.

Read on and all will be revealed.



Having a bad day at the office? Why not resign and move to Uruguay?

Or Togo, Sweden, South Africa, Norway or any of the other countries which received a top ranking in a global survey of workers’ rights.

According to the International Trade Union Confederation’s Global Rights Index (don’t worry, our copy hasn’t arrived either), Uruguay is one of the best places to work in the world.

Countries were given a rating of 1 to 5 “depending on their compliance with collective labour rights”, and Uruguay got the top rating of 1. The UK scored a measly 3. Pah!



There are some lovely beaches in England, many of them right here in the South-West.

But beaches aren’t something England is famous for, whereas Uruguay is renowned for its stunning coastline, including the 30-mile stretch of shoreline known as the Gold Coast.

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Despite being small enough to fit in your shoe, Uruguay boasts two World Cup triumphs to England’s one.

In fairness, we’ve won it more recently (our win was in 1966, they won it in 1930 and 1950) but we’ve got to give them this one.




You might impress guests at a dinner party by quoting a line or two from Shakespeare, but when was the last time you threw in a snappy passage from the works of José Enrique Camilo Rodó Piñeyro (pictured)?

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Apparently, he’s Uruguay’s most famous essayist, but based on the fact that everybody’s heard of Romeo and Juliet, and not everybody’s heard of Jose’s best-known work, Ariel (1900), we’re having this one.




The first steam train, the first jet engine, the World Wide Web, and of course, football…the world has a lot to thank England for.

As for our rival, in the late 1990s, Uruguayan Rafael Guarga developed the selective inverted sink or SIS - a device used by farmers to protect plants from frost.

It sounds useful, but I think we can safely mark this down as another England win.




Don’t you hate it when you’re in a club and no matter how many times you ask, the DJ simply won’t play any No Te Va Gustar, or even a bit of La Vela Puerca?

They are just two of the fine rock bands to emanate from Uruguay.
England, on the other hand, can only offer The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Radiohead, Oasis, etc etc.

It's URUGUAY 3, ENGLAND 3. This one’s going into extra time.

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La Vela Puerca (a household name in several Uruguayan households).



Anybody can win a penalty shoot-out, that’s easy. Just ask Uruguay, who knocked out Ghana 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup.

However, to lose on penalties time and again, selflessly allowing another nation to progress at your expense, well that takes real character.

In 1990, England got their first taste of ‘being the bigger man’ when first Stuart Pearce, and then Chris Waddle, failed to convert from the spot, sending West Germany through to the final.

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(Chris Waddle still hasn't recovered from his penalty miss)

At the European Championships in England in 1996, Gareth Southgate heroically put outside any personal ambitions of glory and triumph, and tamely side-footed his spot-kick into the path of the grateful German goalkeeper.

It was the same story in 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012 – whenever England have needed somebody to step up to the plate and fail spectacularly, someone has delivered.

So Stuart, Chris, Gareth, Paul, David, David, Darius, Frank, Steven, Jamie, Ashley and Ashley (that’s Pearce, Waddle, Southgate, Ince, Batty, Beckham, Vassell, Lampard, Gerrard, Carragher, Cole and Young) we salute you.

When it comes to penalty shoot-out hearbreak, nobody can stop us.


Uruguay factfile: 
Population: 3.3 million
Capital: Montevideo
Exports: Meat, rice, leather products, wool.
Famous people: Footballers Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, singer, actress and fashion designer Natalia Marisa Oreiro Iglesias (below).
Did you know? In 2013, Uruguay legalised same-sex marriage and cannabis.

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