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World Cup 2010: 6 Talking Points – Week 1

The 2010 World Cup is a week old and if 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, then here’s a list of 6 talking points to help you through till next week at least. Vocabulary support can be found for the words in bold at the foot of the post. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

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1. Vuvuzela

If you don’t know what a vuvuzela is then you are on the wrong site. Annoying drone of angry bees or fantastically atmospheric backdrop to the tournament? There is talk of a ban but that would be hard to implement and extremely unfair to the hosts. Should it be banned?

2. Lack of Goals

The atmosphere is fantastic, the stadia are brilliant, Messi looks like he is up for it but where are all the goals? After the first set of matches there were a total of only 25 goals from 16 matches which makes it fewer than the Italia 90 World Cup which is long-regarded as the most boring in recent times. No one wants to lose the first game but where is the sense of adventure that teams had in Germany 2006?

3. The Ball

The Jabulani, the official World Cup football, has been called the roundest ball ever produced by Adidas. They would though. Commentators, managers and fans are suggesting that the misplaced passes, over-hit crosses, goalkeeping mistakes and the lack of decent long shots have been caused by the unpredictability of the ball. How can it be unpredictable when the ball is the roundest ball in football history? Stop complaining and get on with it, after all, it’s only a ball.

4. Spain

One defeat in 48 matches before the tournament, the European 2008 Champions were heavily-favoured to finally win their first ever World Cup. Yet despite, 70% of ball possession and 22 shots on goal they lost 0-1 to a well-marshalled Swiss side. Now the media is full of doom and gloom and writing Spain off. Don’t panic Spain fans, even though they may have to beat Brazil in round 2, I’ll be putting some money on them to win their first World Cup.

5. Two Diegos

While his team are producing the goods on the pitch, the suited and bearded manager of Argentina, Diego Maradona is proving to be as divisive as ever. The owner of the infamous ‘Hand of God’ demanded fair play from players during the tournament and then attacked Pele and Michel Platini who he accused of being French. Brilliant. Despite the enormous presence of Maradona at this tournament there is another Diego shining here – Diego Forlán, who has been masterful in both games for his country Uruguay, scoring two goals and making another one. He strolled around the pitch last night against South Africa as if he owned the place. A real masterclass of football.

6. North Korea

Everybody loves an underdog but when did the whole world start supporting a founder-member of the axis of evil as opposed to a fun-loving nation that plays beautiful football? Is it that we love the sneaky way the team tried to add an extra striker to their squad by pretending he was a goalkeeper? Maybe it’s the story that the regime in North Korea will only show TV highlights if their team does well or that the Chinese authorities have flown in a thousand fans to pretend to be Koreans. Whatever it is they are rubbish at football!


  • drone: Noise that a swarm of bees makes
  • he is up for it: Enthusiastic, really wants to play
  • a well-marshalled Swiss side: Very well organised team
  • full of doom and gloom: Very pessimistic
  • writing Spain off: To feel that they do not have a good chance
  • ‘Hand of God’ : After scoring a goal with his hand against England in 1986, Maradona claimed it was the Hand of God that did it.
  • masterful: Very good, much better than anyone else
  • strolled around: Walked around with no worries at all
  • an underdog: A team that is not expected to do well
  • a fun-loving nation that plays beautiful football: Brazil
  • sneaky: Underhanded, not open
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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