Euro 2012 Group B

We continue our reviews of the first round of matches from the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine by looking at the group of death: Group B. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. There is also a worksheet (see left) for learners who wish to improve their English.

The Good

Dubbed the Group of Death due to all four teams being in FIFA‘s top ten rankings, many had feared that Group B would be a tense affair with defences dominating. However, this was a group full of quality players all battling to make the knock-out stages, which lead to some wonderfully exciting games. Germany’s Gomez, Ozil and Schweinsteiger, Portugal’s Nani and of course Ronaldo, whose play against the Netherlands was one of the great individual performances at this tournament, Van de Vaart and Sneijder stood out for the Dutch, while Bendtner and Krohn-Dehli surprised many with their attacking play. Not so much the Group of Death and more like the Group of Excitement.

The Bad

The Dutch had coasted through their qualifying campaign, were tipped by many as potential winners of the tournament and they had a forward line that most other teams could only dream of and yet they finished bottom of the group with no points. They were lacklustre against the Danes in the first game but were outplayed by the Germans and Portuguese in their next two games. Huntelaar, Van Persie, Robben and Van Bommel had poor tournaments and the pressure is on coach van Marwijk who faces the sack only two years after guiding Oranje to the World Cup final in South Africa.

The Ugly

Not so much ugly but rather ridiculous as UEFA fine Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner €100,000 and suspended him for one competitive match for wearing underpants that had advertising on them. Bendtner claimed not to realise that his underwear would provoke so much trouble and while the betting company that ‘sponsored’ the pants have paid the Dane’s fine the story has raised questions about the severity of the punishment when compared to that of racist chanting by fans. It seems that UEFA think that uncontrolled advertising is a bigger ‘crime’ than racism.

Download Worksheet Here


Dubbed: Called, named

stood out: Played well, did well

had coasted through: Had easily qualified

were tipped by many: Had been predicted by many

lacklustre: They did not perform well, they had no spark (or shine)

albeit: Even though, although

faces the sack: Could lose his job (be fired)

fine: To make someone pay a financial penalty

provoke: Cause

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here If you have any suggestions, contact us at

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Learn English Through Football

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Euro 2012Episode 141