The Rundown

Six things you can do in San Marino… and six you can’t

The Rundown

The mighty England take on football's joint worst team on Friday as they travel to face San Marino - a country inhabited by only 32,000 people.

An entire republic - reputed to be the world's oldest - has roughly the same population as Leighton Buzzard and is something of a mystery to travelling Three Lions fans, who are more used to trips to Europe's more glamorous capitals.

Here we bring you our list of things you can do in Europe's third smallest country, as well as those you can't.

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THINGS YOU CAN DO IN SAN MARINO

1. Dodge Tax

San Marino has a reputation as one of Europe's tax havens, so England's more financially-minded stars might consider opening a bank account or two while they are in town.

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2. Buy a computer from Davide Gualtieri

One of San Marino's most famous figures, Gualtieri stunned England after only 8.3 seconds of a qualifier in 1993 when he took advantage of a poor backpass from Stuart Pearce to score the fastest ever goal in a World Cup game. England went on to win 7-1 and after a less than starry career that never managed to hit the heights of those 8.3 seconds again, Gualtieri is now a computer salesman.

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3. Watch professional baseball

They might not have a professional football team, but San Marino boast one of Italy's finest baseball outfits: T&A San Marino. They play in Serie A1 and were European champions in 2006 - quite a feat for a team from such a tiny country. Forget the Oakland As, this is where the real Moneyball goes on.

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4. Sing 'The Social Network Song'

San Marino's entry for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest courted controversy as Valentina Monetta's slice of pop brilliance was titled 'Facebook, Uh, Oh, Oh' falling foul of the competition's notoriously high standards as it promoted commercial interests. It was renamed 'The Social Network Song' and failed to make it out of the semi-finals. Sample lyrics: “Do you wanna be more than just a friend? Do you wanna play cyber-sex again? If you wanna come to my house, then click me with your mouse.”

5. Watch Italian league football

San Marino has no professional league structure - though it was awarded a place in the Champions League preliminaries in 2007 - and its most prominent club completes in the Italian third tier. San Marino Calcio are just a couple of promotions away from Serie A and already play at Stadio Olimpico - even if their stadium is a touch more shabby than the one inhabited by Roma and Lazio.

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6. Stage a military coup

San Marino has no formal military, making it a desirable location for any would-be despot. The tiny country relies on Italy for support but they've got their own problems to worry about, what with Silvio Berlusconi still hanging around like a bad smell, and might forget all about their sister state.

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THINGS YOU CAN'T DO IN SAN MARINO

1. Gamble

Casinos are illegal in San Marino due to the terms of an agreement with neighbouring Italy, meaning Lamps, Wazza and the Hart Dog won't be able to celebrate their magnificent two-goal victory with a round or two of Blackjack on Friday night.

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2. Watch the Olympics

England will play in a venue with the grandiose name of Stadio Olimpico on Friday, yet San Marino has never hosted an Olympic Games. Though if Qatar can - and never will, unless the IOC start adopting FIFA's rather dubious voting procedures. Stadio Olimpico holds 7,000 fans, less than a 10th of London's Olympic Stadium.

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3. Go train spotting, or plane spotting

San Marino has neither a train station nor an airport and when arriving internationally you have to get the bus from Italy. This ensures the country has the lowest number of anorak-wearing, thermos-wielding, notebook-scribbling nerds on the continent.

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4. Meet Dan Marino

Despite the fact he is just one small letter away from having an identical name to the country, it is believed the former American Football superstar has never been to the landlocked state, or indeed ever considered visiting.

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5. Watch motorsport

Despite having claims to a Formula One GP and a Moto GP race in recent years, San Marino in fact has neither. Valentino Rossi and pals race round on two wheels in Rimini, Italy, while the F1 race was discontinued in 2007, and was held in Italy too. What a scam.

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6. Go on the razz

We all know England fans have a reputation for beer and lariness on their away days, but San Marino has a certain status to uphold. It isn't called the Most Serene Republic of San Marino for nothing, so put that keg of Carling down and go and visit a museum or something.

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