Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whose World? What Cup? (Day 04a)

I'm watching Paraguay holding a 1-0 lead over Italy at half time, which brings us to the only question that is trickier than the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia: "What's the difference between Uruguay and Paraguay?"

The Oriental Republic of Uruguay is a state existing entirely on the Eastern (hence, 'Oriental') bank of the Uruguay ('birds on the water') River. The land border on the other sides of Uruguay is with Brazil. Its motto is Libertad o Muerte, 'Liberty or Death'.

The Republic of Paraguay is a state some distance to the north of Uruguay, with the Paraguay ('many waters') River running through it. It has Argentina to its south, Brazil to its east, and Bolivia to its northwest. Its motto is Paz y Justicia, 'Peace and Justice'.

I guess there must be quite a bit of difference between the two. Uruguay has a sea coast, with the Atlantic to its southeast; Paraguay is landlocked, the heart of South America, in a way. Uruguay's capital is Montevideo ('Mountain View') while Paraguay's capital is Asuncion ('Ascension'). Paraguay has a 95% mixed Latino/Native (Mestizo) population, while Uruguay is about 90% white.

And at this World Cup, I think Paraguay is at the moment being slightly more successful...

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Italy has just equalised through Daniele De Rossi, one of the three Italian players I think of as possibly the future of Italy's team. The other two are Giorgio Chiellini and Marco Balotelli. Sadly, the last-named, being of highly incendiary temperament, isn't at the World Cup this year.

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