4 More World Cup Talking Points: Week 2

The World Cup group stages are all over and the business end of the tournament is about to start. Here are another set of talking points from last week in case you are struggling to keep up or simply have no idea what’s going on and you need some language for those World Cup conversations. Vocabulary support can be found for the words in bold at the foot of the post.

1. South America vs Europe

It has been a good tournament for teams from South America with all 5 teams making it to the qualifying section of the tournament. Apart from Chile’s defeat against Spain they have won 10 and drawn 4 of their games – very impressive indeed. Europe on the other hand have seen Greece, Denmark, Serbia, Slovenia, France, Switzerland and Italy all dumped out of the tournament before the knock-out stage. There have been lots of suggestions as to why this happened – the competition taking place in the southern hemisphere being one of them – but it is down to organisation, tactics and simply better players.

2. South Korea and Japan

Not to be outdone, Asian sides have also fared well in the tournament so far with Korea and Japan qualifying for the knock-out stages in style. South Korea came out of a group that included the former champions of their respective continental crowns. While after a slow start, Japan qualified after demolishing Denmark 3-1 to send the Danes packing. They have also been the most successful sides in taking free kicks. Could we see an Asian side in the semi-final?

3. France

Reasons for France’s demise? Take your pick:

  • They left Nasri and Benzema at home
  • Nicholas Anelka’s outburst and subsequent sending home
  • Players refusing to train in protest at… we are still unsure about what
  • The manager had no control over his players, was disliked by the fans at home and even refused to shake hands with South African manager Perreira after their final group match. Classless.
  • They should never have been there in the first place 🙂

4. Italy

‘Shame’, ‘End of an era’ and ‘All is black’ were some of the headlines in the Italian football press the day after their dramatic defeat against the European minnows Slovakia. The World Champions were poor throughout the tournament and though not tipped to win it they were expected to perform well – we knew that they were an aging side but surely there was enough class and experience to get through a group that included Slovakia and New Zealand. They didn’t and finished bottom.


dumped out of: Knocked-out of the competition

demolishing: Thrashing, heavily defeating

southern hemisphere: The area ‘below’ the Equator

former champions of their respective continental crowns: The other three countries in the group had previously won the European Championship, the Copa America and the African Cup of Nations.

to send the Danes packing: To knock-out Denmark

demise: The fall, the decline of a team

outburst: Violent surge of emotion

minnows: A smaller team, one that is not expected to do well (similar to an underdog: A team that is not expected to do well)

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World CupEpisode 69