Only two days until the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia and so on today’s football-language podcast we take a look at two of the groups in the tournament: Groups A and B. We will also be looking at our World Cup predictions competition – there is still time to join! For this audio report there is a transcript and a worksheet, great for learners and teachers of English, which can be freely accessed here. If you have questions or comments, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (Damon=DB, Damian=DF).
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Transcript of the show (13th June 2018)
Learn English through Football Podcast: 2018 World Cup Preview – Groups A and B
Introduction (Download Worksheet and Answers Here)
DF: You are listening to languagecaster.com’s football-language podcast. Hello everyone and welcome everyone to the podcast for all those interested in improving their English skills and who love the beautiful game of football. My name is Damian and on this audio report – only two days to go until the World Cup starts – we take a look at the first two groups in the World Cup: Group A and Group B. For this audio report we have a transcript and a worksheet, both of which are great for learners and teachers of English and which can be freely accessed here.
Stinger: You are listening to Languagecaster.com (in German).
- Russia (70th)
- Saudi Arabia (67th)
- Uruguay (14th)
- Egypt (45th)
There have been 21 editions of the World Cup and on 13 occasions the host nation has reached the last four, with six of those teams actually winning the title. This time, however, only the most fervent Russian optimists would support the host’s chances of progressing to the semi-final of this year’s tournament with some even suggesting that they could emulate South Africa’s ‘achievement’ of being the only host nation not to make it out of the qualifying group. The good news for the hosts is that Group A is the weakest group in the tournament based on FIFA rankings though of course Russia have not played a competitive match for a long time. This means that Russia may make it out of the group, particularly if they defeat outsiders Saudi Arabia in the opening game. The ‘Green Falcons’ did qualify above Australia in their Asian qualifying group but will need to take something from this opening game to stand any chance of making it to the last 16.
Uruguay are one of the World Cup powerhouses – they have a strong World Cup tradition – with two titles and a host of last-four appearances to their name. Unlike Russia, they are confident of doing well in this tournament and with a strong defence, a young attacking midfield and Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani up front they should have too much for their opponents in Group A and go on to top the group. The fourth team in Group A is Egypt and the Pharaohs will also be confident of making it through the group stage mostly because of their star striker Mo Salah. They will face Uruguay in their opening game without the injured Salah but will be targeting at least four points from their last two games in the group when he returns to the team to give themselves a chance of progressing to the last 16.
Prediction: Uruguay and Russia
- Spain (10th)
- Portugal (4th)
- Morocco (41st)
- Iran (37th)
On paper this group seems fairly straightforward with the two European sides, Spain and Portugal, hotly tipped to make it through to the next round. Portugal are, of course, the European Champions after their win in France in 2016 and with Ronaldo in their team their fans may dream of going even further this time round. Their first game is against Spain and this could be a crucial one for the Portuguese because if they lose they may come under pressure from the ‘Atlas Lions’ of Morocco. The Moroccan side have a very strong defence in fact, they did not concede in their six group matches in the African qualifying section and will be a tough side to beat. Their first game is against Iran – a game, incidentally, I am going to be at in Saint Petersburg – and they will be hoping for a good start to then put the Portuguese side under pressure five days later. Morocco could be a dark horse in this group and if they qualify may even go further in the tournament as they might fancy their chances against Russia, Egypt or even Uruguay in the next round.
The Iranians are also a tough defensive side, conceding only twice in ten Asian group qualifying matches and they topped their group well ahead of South Korea and under manager Carlos Queiroz will be quietly confident of causing an upset. Spain are many people’s favourites to win the tournament outright and they should qualify from the group without too many problems. They are a much better side than two years ago in the Euros when they crashed out to Italy in the last 16 and four years ago when the then holders were dumped out at the group stage in the Brazil World Cup. Their coach Lopetegui incredibly has never tasted defeat as manger of La Selección and he has brought in new players to add to the experience from 2010. He is off to Real Madrid after the World Cup so it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to that appointment.
Predictions: Spain and Portugal
Let us know what your predictions for these two groups are by coming along to our site at Languagecaster.com and leaving a message. Tomorrow we will have previews for Group C and Group D and you will be able to access transcripts and worksheets for that audio report by clicking on the Patreon button to subscribe to access this and all our other previous material. Thank you.
2018 World Cup Predictions
You can play in our 2018 World Cup predictions competition – come along to the site and pick your results, while you can also sign up to a daily newsletter to keep up to date with all the scores.
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