International friendlies are taking place around the world as many countries have their eyes on the upcoming World Cup. So on this Learn English Through Football Podcast we discuss some of the news from these games. We will also introduce the football phrase, to put on a plate, give you a quiz question from the world of international matches, and we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting clashes in our predictions’ section. For those wishing to improve their English, there’s a transcript to the show below and if you have questions or comments, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org (Damon=DB; Damian=DF).
Learn English Through Football Podcast: International Friendlies
Subscribe to the show and receive automatic downloads every week
Transcript of the show
DB: You are listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hello football fans and welcome to the show. If you love football and are maybe interested in improving your English, too, well, you’re at the right place! My name’s Damon and I’m based in Tokyo, which has just started cherry blossom viewing. Yes, the trees are blossoming and everyone is out with friends drinking and eating underneath the flowers. I love this time of year. Way over the continents of Asia and Europe is Damian in London. Damian, how are things?
DF: Hello Damon and hello to all our listeners. Erm… as you may have noticed we are a little later than usual this week – the international break means no Premier League football this weekend so we took a day off!
DB: We did
DF: Damon, I miss the cherry blossom season in Japan – what is the name of this season in Japan again?
DB: Well in Japan it’s called hanami – basically looking at flowers.
DF: That’s right. Well, the weather here in London is a little grey and overcast but it looks like we may be getting more snow – it is supposed to be spring time!
DB: Have you seen any of the international friendlies, by the way? I haven’t seen any unfortunately, as the coverage is not so good here in Japan.
DF: Well, I caught some of the highlights of the Friday night games – the English media were happy with the 1-0 win over the Netherlands though they also recognised that this Dutch side is not so strong, while I was disappointed that Ireland lost 1-0 away in Turkey although the Irish team was experimental – not the full-strength team as there were some new caps playing. I also noticed that hosts Russia were thrashed 0-3 by an in-form Brazil side in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and this is the venue for the opening game in the World Cup and of course the final as well. Damon, how did Japan do in their friendly?
DF: OK, well let’s start the show with a few stories from the week in football in the good, the bad and the ugly section. And we’ll follow that with the second part of the show, that’s football language and a quiz question – before our final section, predictions. And we’ve got Spain v Argentina – mouthwatering if this was a competitive match; England v Italy – of course, Italy didn’t make it to the World Cup this year – and Germany v Brazil – 7-1 anyone?
You’re listening to languagecaster.com (in Portuguese)
DB: Great stuff. Right, let me kick off with some good news.
DB: So, it was good news for women’s football in England as Manchester United finally decide to establish a professional women’s team. The most successful club in England and one of the biggest clubs in the world was also the only Premier League club not to have a professional women’s team. Hopefully this will help raise the profile even more for women’s football. Late but good from Manchester United. Also good for Germany and Spain who drew in a friendly this week 1-1. This means neither team has been defeated since the Euro 2016 Championships. That’s 22 games unbeaten for Germany and 17 without a loss for Spain. Both teams feature in our predictions later and face stiff tests – Germany facing Brazil and Spain against Argentina. Can they keep their unbeaten runs going?
DF: Yeah, amazing from those two teams and both will feature, I’m sure, in the latter stages of the World Cup later this year – only 80 days until the start of the competition. Now, hopefully something that won’t feature is the bad behaviour of England’s fans who embarrassed their country again with some appalling, terrible, behaviour in Holland as the national side took on the Dutch. Over 100 were arrested for drunken-ness and anti-social and violent behaviour, while sections of England fans also booed the Dutch national anthem before the game. Poor from this group, who hopefully are not representative of most England fans. One more bad, and this time for Scotland who were beaten at home by Costa Rica 1-0 in their friendly. Now, Scotland were famously beaten by Costa Rica by the same scoreline in the 1990 World Cup, which was a huge shock at the time, I was in Genoa that day and met some Scottish fans who I remember were stunned, oh, they were so upset. The sad thing for Scotland is that this defeat is not felt as a shock anymore with the Central American side sitting above the Scots in FIFA’s rankings. Bad for Scotland and their new manager Alex McLeish. And ugly Damon?
DB: Yes, that was poor from Scotland. Another team to lose was France, 3-2 against Colombia but they scored a stunning counter-attacking goal – so not ugly for me this week but fantastic. Please watch it if you have a chance, but I’d like to describe it as it is full of great football language too! First there is a counter attack with the ball being brought forward by Djibril Sidibe. He plays a slide-rule pass just beyond the Colombian defence to Griezmann, who back heels the ball into the path of Kylian Mbappé. Mbappé feints to pass, taking the defender out the game, before putting it on a plate for Thomas Lemar to smash home from just outside the six-yard area. Brilliant – and we’ll be talking about the phrase to put on a plate later in the show.
DF: Yes, that French goal was beautiful but they did let that two goal lead slip – Colombia will be very happy with their come-from-behind win in Paris.
Now, remember that you can get in touch with us in all the usual ways. Our site is languagecaster.com, we are on twitter, we have a Facebook account, and we are on Instagram. Now, you may remember that last week we asked for three words to describe your favourite team and we’ve had a few more suggestions including: ‘smart, loyal and skillful’ from Magdalena whose favourite team is Atlético Madrid. Thanks for that Magdalena and remember if you’d like to tell us three words that best describes your favourite team or simply would like to ask a football-language question then drop by the site or email us at languagecaster.com
DB: Yes, please do. OK, now it’s time for our quiz question this week and it has a World Cup theme. The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay. The winners were the host nation, Uruguay, who beat Argentina in a shock result. But we want to know, which team came third? Only 13 teams took part in this competition and the third place finish is the best finish for this country. So, which country finished third in the 1930 World Cup? Answer at the end of the show.
DF: Well, it wasn’t England, was it? They didn’t take part in the World Cup until 1950 and they have won the competition once, so that rules them out. Hmm… I’ll have to think about this one.
DB: Well, while you’re thinking I’m going to introduce our English for football phrase.
Football Language: To Put on a Plate
DB: Right, I’m going to talk about a phrase used to describe a kind of pass. The phrase ‘to put on a plate‘ means to serve something for somebody, to give them something. It combines both the meaning do a service for someone and to give someone something. So, in football, if you put it (the ball) on a plate, you present a player with a good scoring chance. The pass is so good that it creates a good opportunity. You mostly hear this phrase describing a cross from the flanks, the wings, into the centre of the box. The verb hand is sometimes used – to hand someone something on a plate – which has a slightly wider meaning, as it could refer to allowing a team the chance to win a match as well as the meaning to score a goal. Here’s an example from Joe.com back in August 2017: “The Brazilian (Neymar) drilled a cross into the penalty area with the outside of his right foot, putting it on a plate for Kurzawa to acrobatically score.” And here’s another with the phrase to hand on a plate; this time from the Daily Mirror, again from August 2017: “The trouble with Tottenham (sorry Damian) on this occasion was that they handed the points to Chelsea on a plate and Chelsea’s men took them.”
DF: Ouch! I was at that game and we did indeed hand Chelsea the points on a plate. Right, next up is our predictions section.
Spain v Argentina
DF: Now, it’s an international flavour of course because of the international break. So, the first game sees Spain taking on Argentina. Now, these two have played each other six times with three wins each. Only one of these games was a competitive match, though, and that was back in the 1966 World Cup. And Argentina won that one 2-1. What do you think Damon?
DB: I was trying to think if I’d ever seen them play against each in the World Cup! I don’t think it will be a repeat of that 1966 score. But I wonder if this could be the first draw between these sides. How about 2-2? You?
DF: I think Spain are stronger than Argentina though they have just come off a positive 2-0 win against Italy in Manchester without Messi. He’ll be back for the albiceleste (that’s the nickname of the Argenine side) but I still think the home side will have too much for Messi’s team: 2-1 for me.
England v Italy
DB: OK, the next game is England v Italy and these sides have met 26 times. 11 wins for Italy to 8 for England. I think this could be an entertaining game, especially if the England manager, Southgate continues to pick a youthful side. But as they are not going to the World Cup Italy will have something to prove. I reckon a 1-1 draw. How about you?
DF: Yes, this has draw written all over it. The teams will play for 60 minutes or so as club football returns next week… 0-0 for me.
DB: You cynic.
Germany v Brazil
DF: And finally we have Germany v Brazil. If they avoid defeat, Germany will equal their 23 game unbeaten run. Of course, their last game against Brazil was that incredible 7-1 in Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, and the Seleção will be out for revenge. This should be a cracker. What do you reckon Damon?
DB: There will be goals. 3-2 to Brazil. You?
DF: I’m going for a draw: 1-1. 60 minutes that’s all they play in friendlies…
DF: OK and before we go, let’s get the answer to the quiz question we asked earlier. Back in 1930 Uruguay lifted the World Cup to become the first world champions. We asked who came third?
DB: And the answer is the USA. In this first World Cup four teams made the knockout stage, the USA, Yugoslavia, Uruguay and Argentina. While the two South American teams made the final the USA were ranked third on goal difference.
DF: Well done if you managed to get the question right and we’ll have another one for you next week. OK, that’s all for this week. Enjoy all of the football and next week it’s back to club football with a London derby, Chelsea v Tottenham.
DB: Nice! Ta-rah!