Football Language Podcast: World Cup 2010 Brazil vs Netherlands

World Cup 2014 Spain vs NetherlandsEnglish Through Football Podcast – World Cup 2010 Brazil vs Netherlands: In this podcast the languagecaster team looks back at the 2010 World Cup quarter-final match between the Netherlands and Brazil which is another game from the #WorldCupAtHome by and which was shown last weekend. We look at the background to that match, as well as some of the words and phrases used to describe the game itself and of course we review what happened afterwards in the rest of the 2010 tournament.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below while you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts. If you’d like to show your support for what we do then think about becoming a patron (through Patreon). There is a transcript for this show which may help you to improve your language skills by reading as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make different kinds of activities for your learners. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then please email us at: (Damian=DF).


DF: Hello again everybody, this is Damian from the languagecaster team and you are listening to the Learn English Through Football Podcast. We hope you are all well and keeping safe wherever you are.

As you may know, the languagecaster team has decided to follow some of the matches being shown on in their #WorldCupAtHome series. We have already looked at the match between Spain and the Netherlands from the 2014 World Cup and this week we take a look at the quarter-final match between the Netherlands and Brazil from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We start off by looking at some of the background to the match, and then we look at some of the words and phrases used to describe the game itself including the cliche ‘game of two halves‘. We wrap up with a review of what happened in the rest of the 2010 tournament.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Portuguese from Brazil)

Background: World Cup Quarter-Final – 2010 Brazil vs Netherlands


DF: This was the first ever World Cup to take place in Africa and it was the first tournament for many years that I watched while in London which meant that as South Africa is only an hour ahead in time zones I was not watching games late into the night. Of course, I was disappointed that Ireland had not made it – they had been beaten by France in a play-off in a controversial manner – I’m still angry about it. But I remember that I organised my holidays in such a way that I was able to watch every game throughout the tournament – great days indeed!

There were some shocks early on in the tournament – both finalists from four years previously failed to make it out of their respective first-round groups. The French went home in disgrace after losing to both the hosts South Africa and Mexico, while the holders Italy also finished bottom of their group which saw Slovakia and Paraguay qualifying. Two Asian sides made it to the last 16 (Japan and South Korea) with only one from Africa (Ghana), while the USA topped their group – pushing England into second spot. The world also got to know the jabulani and the vuvuzela – two rather controversial aspects of the tournament – the jabulani was the unloved World Cup ball and the vuvuzela was that really annoying noise…(sound of vuvuzela).

What we thought would happen

Well, in our quarter-final preview we felt that this was the pick of the last eight matches and despite Brazil being favourites we thought the Dutch might overcome them. This is what we said:

Both teams are in very good form with the Dutch on a national record run of 23 games unbeaten but it is generally felt that Brazil have better discipline, organisation and more match winners in their team than Holland. True, the Dutch have Sneijder, Van Persie and Robben but Brazilian fans point to Robinho, Fabiano, Maicon and Kaká. Despite these top players, however, I am going to go for Holland partly because I feel the pressure on Brazil – and particularly on Dunga – is simply too heavy for them to bear. I also feel that the Dutch have one good game in them and this could be the one, while Robben looks very impressive and I feel if he or one of his team mates scores first then it will be very interesting to see how Brazil cope. 2-1 to Holland.

2010 World Cup Quarter-final: Brazil vs Netherlands

2010 World Cup Brazil v NetherlandsDF: Well, if ever a game was one of two halves then this was it with the Brazilians starting well and scoring early – a through ball cut open the Dutch defence which Robinho latched on to sweep home after only 10 minutes. The Dutch barely threatened and when they did the Brazilian defence ruthlessly stopped Arjen Robben who was repeatedly fouled by Michel Bastos. At half-time there appeared to be only one winner but ten minutes into the second half the Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar came for a Wesley Sneijder cross and missed it – he flapped at the ball – and it hit the head of his team mate Felipe Melo. Suddenly Brazil were at sixes and sevens and were not playing the way that their coach and former World Cup winning captain Dunga wanted them to, that is, disciplined and organised and 15 minutes later they were behind after one of the smallest players on the pitch, Sneijder, headed home from within the six-yard box. Ten minutes after that, Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo was sent off for a stamp on Robben and the ten men of Brazil never really looked like coming back after that; in fact the Dutch could have extended their lead in the final minutes but for some poor finishing. The favourites for the tournament were out and the Dutch moved on to the semi-finals.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Dutch)

What happened next?

2010 World Cup Final
2010 World Cup Final: Spain v Netherlands

The Dutch faced Uruguay in the semi-final and comfortably beat the South American side 3-2 to qualify for their third World Cup final – this time against Spain who were playing in their first final. Now, the final was one of the dirtiest ever played, a game littered with fouls, which saw 14 yellow cards and one red (for the Netherlands defender Heitinga), although their midfielder Nigel de Jong was lucky not to see red after a very high tackle on Xabi Alonso in the first half. The two sides played two very different styles: the Dutch were happy to sit back – to sit deep is another way of saying this – and hoped the pace of Arjen Robben on the counter attack would pay off – definitely not the total football introduced by Cruyff and his team mates in the 1970s. The Spanish played their typical possession-based game though didn’t really have a cutting edge up front and had to wait until late in extra time for the winner courtesy of AndrĂ©s Iniesta – four minutes before the game would have gone to penalties.

Though a deserved winner of the tournament, Spain won all their knock-out games by 1-0 suggesting that they weren’t the free-flowing side of previous years either although they went on to retain the European Championship title two years later to cap a remarkable six year domination of world football. Until of course the Dutch exacted some form of revenge in Brazil 2014.

Stinger: You are listening to (in French)


That’s it for this World Cup memory – we’ll be back with another review of a World Cup classic match next time round – we’ll be looking at the 1986 last 16 match between Brazil (again) and France from Mexico.

Before we go, don’t forget that you can contact us here at languagecaster via our various social media platforms: that’s Facebook’s Learning English Through Football, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Spread the word, ask a question on our forums, make a suggestion, let us know what you remember from the Spain-Netherlands final or drop us an email at Bye bye.

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

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