2022 World Cup Language Podcast: Semi finals – To play in and To go behind

Today’s World Cup language podcast looks back at some of the language from the 2022 World Cup semi-finals. We’ll be looking at the phrases, ‘to play in‘ and ‘to go behind‘. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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2022 World Cup Language Podcast: The semi finals

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. This is Damian and I’m based here in a very cold London – though at least the snow has gone – and I’m one half of the Languagecaster team and of course the other member Damon is based in Japan.

Right, on today’s World Cup language podcast we will be looking back at the two semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup and explain some of the language that was used to describe some of the important goals from the two games. First up, we’ll discuss the Argentinian third goal against Croatia which was set up by Leo Messi – this means that he created or assisted the goal – we’ll talk about the phrase ‘to play in‘; ‘to play a teammate in‘. Then we will look at the first goal from the France-Morocco match scored by Theo Hernández and we’ll explain the phrase ‘to go or to fall behind‘.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in French)

To play in

Embed from Getty Images

…as Messi mesmerised Croatia’s excellent defender Josko Gvardiol on the byeline before playing in Alvarez for the finish (BBC.co.uk, December 13 2022)
How many times have we wondered at the skills and technique of Argentina’s Leo Messi and here again in the first semi-final of the 2022 World Cup he produced another piece of magic that helped his team reach the final. He had already scored the first goal from the spot and had been involved in the second which was scored after a mazy run, or dribble, from Julián Álvarez but he kept the best till midway through the second half when he set up Álvarez to score his second and Argentina’s third. Messi received the ball on the halfway line with his back to goal and despite being closely marked by Croatian defender Joško Gvardiol, he dribbled with the ball until the byeline where he then pulled the ball back (or cut back the ball) for Álvarez to score. It was a remarkable run by Messi. The BBC report suggests that Messi played in Álvarez (note we can also say that Messi played Álvarez in). And this is another way of saying that he passed the ball to Álvarez – he provided an assist. There is also a sense that the pass found space for his team mate and there was a lot of accuracy involved so it means that Messi’s pass was perfectly weighted and arrived at the right time for Álvarez to sweep home or to score.

To fall behind

Embed from Getty Images

going behind to Theo Hernandez’s scrambled fifth minute goal. (BBC.co.uk, December 14 2022)
In the second semi-final France defeated Morocco thanks to an early goal from their left wing back Theo Hernández who volleyed home after a scramble in the box – remember that a scramble (or a stramash as it’s known in Scotland) is when a team tries on many occasions to score in the same attack – there is no real control involved, however. The BBC report writes that ‘despite Morocco…going behind‘ which means that the African side were losing. To fall behind or to go behind means that a team is losing in the game and is used when the team concedes a goal after being level. So, when France scored the first goal of the semi-final we can say that Morocco fell behind; they went behind. The French went on to score a second late on in the game to qualify for the final; though for 70 minutes they were under real pressure from the Moroccans who were unlucky not to equalise. Maybe they had fallen behind too soon in the game?

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Now, if you want to ask us any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on our site here or by using our forum. You can also send us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from a German supporter. Why not think about dropping us a link to the phrase ‘you are listening to Languagecaster.com’ in another language – it would be great to hear from you. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support – we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript – which you can access by coming along to our site. We think it’s a great resource for those learning and teaching the language and it would be really interesting to hear how teachers and students are using these materials.

OK, that’s it for this podcast in which we looked at the phrases, ‘to play in‘and ‘to go behind‘ which both came from the 2022 World Cup semi-finals. Congratulations to France and of course to Argentina. We’ll be back with some more World Cup football language soon. Enjoy all the football and we’ll see you then. Bye bye!

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PodcastEpisode 235