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On this week’s main listening report we look back at some of the big stories from the football world in 2011. Part one will feature January to June while part two will focus on July to December. This report has a transcript below, as well as explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post, while other key phrases (in blue) also have meanings explained.
July also saw Uruguay winning their record-breaking 15th Copa America title after thrashing Paraguay 3-0 in the final at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. La Celeste, or the Sky Blues, had the player of the tournament in Luis Suarez, they did not lose a match and they also knocked-out hosts and favourites Argentina proving that their third place in the 2010 World Cup was no fluke at all.
The final weekend of August also saw two incredible results from the Premier League. First up was a statement of intent from Manchester City in their 5-1 hammering of Tottenham at White Hart Lane while a couple of hours later Manchester United thrashed Arsenal 8-2 – a slaughter of the innocents as one newspaper called it. Good news for the two north London sides was that they did not have to play again for two weeks thanks to the international break.
Qualifying for the Brazil 2014 World Cup has also already started – there have been games in Asia, Central America, Africa and South America. Indeed, some countries such as Djibuti, Eritrea and Chad from Africa, the Cayman Islands and Suriname from the Central American region, as well as former World Cup participants the UAE, North Korea and surprisingly China from the Asian region have already been eliminated. Uruguay, Argentina and surprise package Venezuela top the group in the arduous South American section though there is a long way to go.
The end of the month saw another thrashing in the Premier League but this was one that no one saw coming, one where tactics counted for nothing. Manchester City scored six times at Old Trafford to record their biggest derby victory in years, while it was United’s heaviest defeat in more than half a century. City clearly laid down a marker with respect to their title claims but since then, United have been unbeaten in the league and are now top of the table again along with their rivals. The other major news from the Premier League involved England captain John Terry who was accused of making a racist remark to QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry maintains he is innocent and the decision on this case is to be taken in January. One decision already taken concerning racist remarks was the one involving Liverpool’s Luis Suarez who was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. He has been suspended for eight games though the club are to appeal this verdict. The debate on whether racism exists in football has been re-opened – surely a good thing – but the fact that such high-profile cases exist demonstrate that the problem of racism has not yet been eradicated, particularly when the chief of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, had to apologise for his comments on racism.
In Brazil former captain of the national side Sócrates passed away at the age of 57. The team he was most associated with was Sao Paolo’s Corinthians with whom he played 297 times, scoring a remarkable 172 goals. He played for the national side on 60 occasions, scoring 22 times, and was captain of the 1982 and 1986 World Cup sides. Sócrates was more than just a footballer – he studied medicine and was very political at a time when being so could get you into trouble in Brazil.
Top of the table at the end of the year in Europe does not guarantee title success in Europe but the two Manchester sides in England, Bayern Munich in Germany, Paris Saint Germain in France, Celtic in Scotland, AC Milan and Juventus in Italy, and Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain will all feel they have a chance of lifting their respective national titles in May 2012. Or maybe we will see a dark horse emerging…
the surprise package: a team that has done better than expected
stunned: surprised, shocked
thrashing: A heavy defeat
fluke: luck or chance
the animosity: the bad feeling; the hatred
a statement of intent: shows what you want to do in a forceful manner
hammering: a thrashing, a heavy defeat
topped their groups: Came first
arduous : tough, extremely hard
have already been eliminated: Are already knocked out; will not take part in the World Cup 2014
held off: defeated
eradicated: eliminated; cut out