Football Language Podcast: World Cup 2014 Spain vs Netherlands

World Cup 2014 Spain vs Netherlands: In this short podcast the languagecaster team look back at the 2014 World Cup and in particular the game between Spain and the Netherlands which was recently broadcast on

World Cup 2014 Spain v NetherlandsEnglish Through Football Podcast – World Cup 2014 Spain vs Netherlands
In this short podcast the languagecaster team look back at the 2014 World Cup and in particular the game between Spain and the Netherlands which was recently broadcast on As there is no football going on anywhere around the world due to the continued Coronavirus outbreak, the organising body of world football are showing classic games from the history of the World Cup using the Twitter handle #WorldCupAtHome and we thought we’d watch those games and look at some of the language that was used to describe the games.You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below – you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts – there are hundreds of them! 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).


World Cup 2014 Spain vs NetherlandsDF: 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 around the world. I am in London where the weather is still clear and sunny but we are, like many others, in lockdown meaning of course that we all have to stay at home.

Now as regular listeners know the languagecaster team is made up of myself here in London and Damon who is based in Tokyo – we have many years of experience of recording a podcast in different time zones – and as I mentioned in our last podcast on Monday we are going to continue producing our football language podcasts over the next few weeks in which we discuss some of the words, phrases, cliches, expressions and sayings from the beautiful game of football. We are in the process of adding more content to our football language website here at languagecaster including a new football language quiz on non-English words in English football, another quiz on football pitch markings, and thanks to my local park for this, while we have also re-posted a listening report from 2011 on Johann Cruyff which includes a transcript and vocabulary support.

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

Learn English Through Football Podcast: World Cup 2014 Spain vs Netherlands

World Cup 2014 SpainDF: Now on today’s podcast we go back to a match from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil between Spain and the Netherlands which really helped to kick start the tournament as it produced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history and of course provided one of the most famous goals as well. We’ve done this game as we’ve decided to follow some of the iconic World Cup games that are currently showing on their website. First up we give a little background to the game; then we look at some of the words and phrases used to describe the game before finishing with a ‘what happened next’ round up at the end.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Dutch)

Background: World Cup 2014 (June 13th)

Download the Worksheet
Download Worksheet

DF: Yes, that message was in Dutch which is of course very appropriate as today’s podcast is all about a game from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil between the then holders Spain and the Netherlands. Indeed, these two sides had met in the final four years previously with the Spanish side winning thanks to an extra-time goal from Andrés Iniesta suggesting that this was viewed as a type of revenge game for the Dutch. They were on their way back after a poor performance in the 2012 European Championship when they lost all three matches and failed to progress from their group but under manager Louis Van Gaal they were starting to re-emerge and were expected to challenge Chile to qualify from Group B – behind the Spanish of course. In fact, in our Group B preview before the tournament we tipped the Dutch to make it through along with Spain (See our listening worksheet with answers here)

2014 World Cup Spain v Netherlands
Recife: A lonely Cameroon fan watching his side’s defeat against Mexico in Game 2 of the 2014 World Cup

Well, I was in Brazil at the time (in Recife in the north-east of the country) and had arrived a couple of days previously from Hong Kong and was still feeling the effects of travelling for almost 24 hours; so much so that I had fallen asleep during the opening match between Brazil and Croatia and only woke up when I heard Brazilian fans celebrating in the streets! I watched the Spanish versus the Dutch game the next day in my room after being slightly disappointed at the turn out at the FIFA Fan Fest for the earlier game between Cameroon and Mexico which the Central Americans won easily. I wasn’t disappointed, however, in this game!

Spain 1 – 5 Netherlands

The game was played in Salvador on a hot and rainy day – both sides wore their second kits – Spain in white and the Dutch in blue and just before the 30 minute mark of the first half, Spain scored from the penalty spot after the referee awarded a rather soft penalty. But just before half-time, the Dutch responded with one of the most iconic goals in World Cup history – a looping header (other ways to describe it include a diving or flying header) from their captain Robin Van Persie – that changed the complexion of the whole match and for Spain, their whole tournament. In the second half the Dutch soaked up the Spanish pressure and hit them on the counter-attack to score four more unanswered goals. Arjen Robben, who had missed a one-on-one chance to win the 2010 World Cup four years earlier, was the chief tormentor of the Spanish as his direct running caused them huge problems as they went chasing the game. The Bayern Munich winger scored the second goal when he sprinted through the defence, while the third goal was scored by de Vrij – his debut international goal – after Spanish keeper Casillas flapped at a free kick. Both Robben and Van Persie finished with braces but could easily have both scored hat-tricks (Van Persie rattled the crossbar with a dipping volley, that is, he crashed his shot against the crossbar) as the Spanish completely collapsed and frankly were lucky to escape with a 5-1 thrashing or as the commentator called it – a hiding.

Stinger: You are listening to (in French)

What happened next?

World Cup 2014 NetherlandsThe result sent shockwaves around the football world as this was the heaviest defeat by a defending World Cup champion, it was also the biggest defeat for Spain for over 60 years. Indeed prior to this game the Spanish keeper Casillas had conceded only six tournament goals stretching back 19 matches, while it also blew open Group B. Now Spain were always known as slow starters in tournaments but the damage inflicted in this game was too much for them to overcome and they were beaten 2-0 in their next game against Chile which eliminated them from a competition that they had been one of the favourites to win. As for the Dutch, they finished top of the group with three wins and 100% record and then went all the way to the semi-finals where they eventually lost on penalties to Argentina. They then finished a very successful campaign by defeating hosts Brazil 3-0 in the third and fourth place play-off.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Thai)


OK, that’s it for now – we’ll be back at the weekend when we take a look at another iconic World Cup match from FIFA’s World Cup archives and this time we will be watching the Netherlands (again) versus Brazil from the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals in South Africa. 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 match 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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