The bustling capital of Chisinau yesterday.

by Daisy Cutter

England take on the mighty Moldova this evening, a team ranked 141st in the world, just ahead of Vietnam and Belize. It is a game that surely Roy Hodgson’s men can expect to win and kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign with three points in the bank but the question on nobody’s lips is – just who the hell are Moldova?

A courtesy Wikipedia check reveals it’s a country that formed in 1991 following the Soviet break-up. It is land-locked, sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, and has a population of 3.5m.

But the Cutter demanded more. We wanted to know exactly who we’re sending our brave boys out to play. To that end we compiled 18 facts about these mysterious foes, at least one of which is true.

1/ The national anthem of Moldova – We Shall Fight With Our Cattle – was composed in 1990 by a punk band called Holly Willoughby’s Clopper.

2/ The eagle on the national flag is said to be a homage to Bolton Wanderers winger Chris Eagles whose mother once stayed in the capital city of Chisinau for two days.

3/ Moldova’s Ministry of Defence is called Alexei. In the winter months he is a goat herder.

4/ Since it’s formation in 1991 it has become a yuletide tradition that at 3pm every Christmas Day an episode of the Twilight Zone is aired where actor Douglas Heyes declares his love for the country. Sadly it was revealed by a linguistics expert last year that the laconic Heyes was actually saying ‘Love? It was something I mulled over.’

5/ Princess Irrina, grand-daughter of the exiled King Dennis VI, lives in Shoreditch and briefly dated that gimp from JLS who does standing somersaults.

6/ 87% of the Moldovan population believe that The Fall Guy was real.

7/ Moldova’s most famous footballer Viorel Dedov once successfully completed 41 keepy-uppies.8/ The national dish of Moldova is roasted porcupine.

8/ The national dish of Moldova is roasted porcupine.

9/ In June 1993 in a small town close to Ribnita a man drowned in rain.

10/ Though Moldovans have 27 terms to imply jealousy they have no word for ‘love’.

11/ Scientists flocked to the village of Bishca last autumn when it came to light that every male occupant possesses a superfluous third nipple.

12/ In the deep foothills of Dubasari, a bleak and barren corner of Moldova, the missing career of Carol Smillie can be found.

13/ In some parts of the country having a harelip symbolises virility and is considered attractive.

14/ The capital city of Chisinau translates as ‘so very lonely’.

15/ Moldova’s most famous export is a dog who only eats cat food.

Yipper tucks into a plate of Whiskas.

16/ Ion Caras, the national football coach, allegedly once rounded up four hundred and forty-two players in order to play his preferred formation.

17/ In certain rural areas it is still illegal to kiss above the neck.

18/ It is said that JRR Tolkien based his middle-earth hell of Mordor on the country.

19/ Michael Palin however, when passing though during his 80 days around the world, described the place as ‘quite pleasant’.

20/ In October 2005 Moldova drew 1-1 with Scotland in a World Cup Qualifying game.