Every week during the season, the languagecaster team will explain a football headline that has appeared in the English-speaking press and this week we feature the Russia-Ireland European Championship game. Click on the link below to hear the word or phrase, while you can also read the transcript below that. You can also find many more examples of football phrases here, as well as football cliches here and our huge football glossary here.
Republic of Ireland mount the blockade to thwart wasteful Russia | Listen here: Ireland vs Russia.mp3
This week’s newspaper headline is Republic of Ireland mount the blockade to thwart wasteful Russia and is taken from The Guardian newspaper and it looks at the recent European Championship qualifier between Russia and the Republic of Ireland that took place on September 6th in Moscow. Both sides needed a good result in order to help their chances of qualifying for next year’s finals with Russia being slight favourites due to the home advantage as well as the fact that they had defeated the Irish in Dublin earlier in the campaign.
This week’s match finished 0-0 – a scoreless draw – but few who saw the game can understand why as the Russians completely dominated the game (they had over 20 scoring opportunities including 8 on target). The fact that the Irish team had to defend so much is reflected in the phrase ‘mount the blockade‘, which means that they formed a wall that would not allow anyone to pass. When Russian sides play against British or Irish sides the home media often use expressions or terms from the Cold War and blockade is no exception as it is associated with the Cuban Missile crisis when the US navy tried to prevent Soviet ships from reaching Cuba. The verb ‘to thwart‘ means to prevent or to stop someone from doing something and so in this game the Irish defence prevented the Russians from scoring. However the headline goes on to suggest that it was not just the Irish defence that stopped a goal being scored as the adjective ‘wasteful‘ is employed to describe the fact that the Russian forwards missed so many chances – they wasted many opportunities to score. Interestingly, the headline uses the term Republic of Ireland to describe the Irish side, this of course is the official name for the country but it may also have been used because of the fact that Northern Ireland were also playing on the same night and so the Guardian did not wish to confuse its readers.
Therefore, the headline ‘Republic of Ireland mount the blockade to thwart wasteful Russia‘ can be summed up as meaning that the strong Irish defence and poor finishing from the Russians meant that neither side won.