Uruguay player Luis Suarez

Uruguay player Luis Suarez

Uruguay would win the World Cup, which kicks off tonight, if the 32 teams were competing on grounds of religious freedoms. That’s according to new research released this week by the Council of Christians and Jews.

Using data from the Pew Global Religious Futures Project, the semi-finalists would be Cameroon, Uruguay, Ecuador and Honduras.

“The final would see Uruguay, who play England in the competition next week and whose real World Cup hopes rest on the shoulders of star player Luis Suarez (pictured), beating Ecuador.

The countries with the greatest religious freedom are Uruguay, Ecuador and Portugal, in that order. But Portugal would miss out on the semi-final as they would be knocked out by Uruguay in the quarter finals. Russia, Iran and Algeria, in that order, have the worst record on religious freedom.

Zaki Cooper, who is a trustee of the Council of Christians and Jews, said: “The World cup brings together people from different countries and faiths. Football is a universal language and can bring people together across the boundaries of faith.

“At the same time, it is interesting that the countries in the World Cup have such different records on religious freedom.

“While it will be a tall order for Uruguay to lift the actual World Cup, It is fascinating to see that they lead the way in this area.”