In the Balance – Football Language: Euro 2021 – Day 11

This football language podcast looks back at Day 11 of the 2020 European Championships. We talk abut some football phrases describing Finland after their defeat to Belgium. You can read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at (DB=Damon)

In the Balance – Football Language: Euro 2021 – Day 11

DB: You’re listening to’s football language Euro 2020 podcast. Hello there everyone. My name is Damon, one half of the languagecaster team. How are things with you? We hope you are well and enjoying the feast of football at the Euro 2020 tournament.

As regular listeners know, we are doing a podcast everyday from the Euros, talking about some of the football language used to describe the matches and competition. On this show, I’m going to talk about Finland, who are in third place in Group B after losing to Belgium. I’ll be focusing on their hopes of going through to the last 16.

Frame of the goalStinger: You are listening to (in Danish).

In the Balance

DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in Danish.

After day 11, the qualification for the last 16 is becoming clearer. There are 24 teams competing, so 8 will have to go home after the group stages. That means all first and second place teams go through, along with four third place teams. After losing to Belgium 2-0, Finland now find themselves in third place in their group on 3 points and -2 goal difference: they have scored one but conceded three. Their hopes of securing a last 16 spot are in the balance. In the balance means undecided, not in a strong position.

Embed from Getty Images

This is how the BBC described it: “Belgium secured wins in all three group games at a European Championship for the first time with a battling victory that left Finland’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in the balance.

Notice the verb ‘leave‘ is used with ‘hopes‘ – so the loss leaves the team’s hopes in the balance.

Slim & Hang By a Thread

DB: In fact, Finlands hopes of progressing are very slim. You can use slim to describe a small chance, so a slim chance, or a slim hope. We can also say their hopes hang by a thread. This is when you want to say a team really needs a miracle to go through.

In fact, this is how Denmark’s position was described before day 11. This is from “Denmark were desperately unlucky to lose this match, and their hopes of qualification now hang by a thread, while Belgium have qualified for the round of 16.

Well, Denmark had a stunning 4-1 win over Russia and have qualified for the last 16, leaving Finland’s hopes hanging by a thread or in the balance. Can the Finns progress? Well, it is out of their hands now; out of their hands means not in their control; they have to wait for other results.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Welsh).

Good Bye

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Welsh. Right, time to wrap up this short podcast. We talked about ways to describe situations where the chance of progressing in a competition is small. A team’s hopes are left in the balance, or hang by a thread. We can also say the chance of progressing is slim. And finally, if a team has no control over their fate, the chance of progressing is out of their hands.

That’s it for this short podcast. Remember, you can also come along and play in our predictions competition, vote in our Euro 2020 poll and find lots of football language on our site here at Enjoy all the football. Ta-ra!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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Euro 2020Episode 750