Follow me:

Learn English Through Football Podcast: WC Qualifiers 2016

Welcome everyone to the football podcast for learners of English. On this week’s show we’ll be looking back at some of the big football news from the past week and of course looking at the World Cup qualifiers. We also have some new football language to explain, including ‘glancing header‘, we also have a quiz question for you to ponder, and we finish with some predictions. (Damon = DB).

Learn English Through Football Podcast: World Cup Qualifiers November 2016

Subscribe to the show and receive automatic downloads every week

Transcript of the show

DB: You’re listening to’s football language podcast. Welcome everyone to the show for all fans of football who wish to learn more about the language of the beautiful game. My name is Damon and I am talking to you from a sunny Tokyo where I’m looking forward to catching up with the week’s World Cup qualifiers. Damian is in Spain enjoying himself, so today it’s just me listeners!

Line up

It’s World Cup qualifiers so we’re going to take a look at a few games at the end of the show. We will have our good, the bad and the ugly section, with some of the footballing stories this week, a football phrase or two, including a glancing header, and a quiz question.

OK, let’s start with our good, the bad and the ugly section. Damon, what was good for you this week?


Good for Brazil as they put in a performance against Argentina that helps ease the pain of the 7-1 defeat suffered in the World Cup against Germany. The Brazilians were playing at Belo Horizonte, the scene of their thrashing by the German side, but the outcome this time was much happier. A 3-0 victory over their fierce rivals puts Brazil top of the CONMEBOL qualifying table on 24 points and Argentina, struggling in 6th, outside the automatic qualifying places. 


And bad? Well, it was obviously bad for Argentina, but in another World Cup qualifying game featuring two massive rivals, Scotland were thumped, also 3-0, by England. This is the oldest international fixture, and when the teams clash it is always a big game. This is the first time the two sides have been in the same World Cup qualifying groups and Scotland came in to the game under pressure with only one win, a draw and a big defeat, to Slovakia. England, by contrast, were top of the table with seven points. The 3-0 defeat is bad for Scotland’s qualifying hopes but also bad for Gordon Strachan, their manager, who looks as though he will be show the door, or fired,  at some point soon.


Finally, ugly. Staying with the World Cup qualifiers, an ugly incident in the Romania versus Poland match saw flares thrown on the pitch: one burning a while into the net of one goal and another exploding near Polish captain, Robert Lewandowski. The game was suspended for a long period before it resumed with Poland running out 3-0 winners. There was also trouble in the stands to round off an ugly night for organisers of the match.

Yes, you are listening to And that was in Hindi. Now, we’re looking for the message, ‘You are listening to’ in another language, so, if you are interested in sending on your recording you can do so by emailing here us at

Quiz question

Right, before our football language section here is this week’s quiz question. Can you name the last three Golden Boot winners from the competition, that’s the World Cup – that is, which players scored the most goals in the last three World Cups – in 2014, 2010, and 2006. Just to jog your memory the Golden Boot winner in 2002 was Ronaldo, with eight goals.

We’ll have the answer at the end of the show. And if you’d like to ask a quiz question, drop us a line here at Right, next up we take a look at some of the football language from the week.

Football Language: a Glancing header

OK. Next let’s look at a couple of football phrases. And first, is glancing header. In the England versus Scotland game on Friday, there were three headers scored, and the first by Daniel Sturridge was a glancing header. To glance is a verb that means to have a quick look, but to glance off something means to hit something at a shallow, or narrow, angle and bounce off. A glancing header is when the player slightly touches the ball, changing its direction only a little. Especially at close range, a glancing header maintains the speed of the ball and can wrong foot the goalkeeper and defence.

Football Language: a Winning streak

Second is a phrase connected with a game I have mentioned today. The phrase is winning streak, and it means winning a number of games in a row, or on the trot. For example, if you win three games in a row, it is a winning streak of three games. If you win five games on the trot, it can be described as a five-game winning streak. Brazil’s 3-0 win over Argentina means they are on a five-game winning streak.

Follow us

We’d just like to remind you that you can contact us here at, follow us on twitter, that’s @languagecaster, visit us at our Facebook page Learn English Through Football, and find us on Instagram too. We’re always looking for ideas for football language and are happy to answer any questions you may have. As always, thanks to all those who have liked our posts, loved our tweets, and listened to our podcast.

Now, next up is this week’s predictions.


OK, let’s take a look at three games coming up in the World Cup qualifiers going on around the world. No Premier League this week, but if you want to join our prediction competition come along to the site, log in and follow the links at the top of the page to the predictions and make your guesses! The competition runs each month and all season. OK, the first game is?

Croatia vs Iceland

I’m going to start with an interesting looking tie in Group I with Croatia in top position hosting Iceland in second. Both are on seven points and are separated by goal difference. Both have punched above their weight, with Iceland famously beating England in the European Championships and Croatia doing the same against Spain. I’m going to go for a 1-1 draw, which will probably suit Iceland more than Croatia.

Japan vs Saudi Arabia

Next is a must win game for Japan. Above them in Group B in the Asian qualification groups are Australia and Saudi Arabia, and as there are only two automatic spots this is a chance for Japan to get in the mix. A win would see them equal on points with Saudi Arabia.

A lot of Japanese fans are pretty nervous. A 1-1 draw away at Australia was a good result but still leaves Japan needing to beat Saudi Arabia and Australia at home. I think they can do it and am going to go for a 2-0 home win.

Argentina vs Columbia

And our last game is Argentina vs Columbia. We’ve already mentioned the trouble Argentina are in and this game against 3rd placed Columbia is a must win. I’m going for a 1-0 home win.

I wonder what Damian reckons? Let’s hope, wherever he is, he can watch the Ireland game as they travel to Austria.

Quiz Answer

OK. Now just before I go, what was the answer to this week’s quiz question?

Well, I asked you who were the three Golden boot winners in the World Cups of 2006, 2010 and 2014. The answer is the Germans Miroslav Klose with 5 and Thomas Müller with 6 in 2010 and 2014 respectively, and Colombian James Rodríguez with 6 in 2016.

Good bye

DB: OK, that’s it for this week. Enjoy the football ta-rah!

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

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Hosted by

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!
Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

Football Language Podcast

2018 World Cup: Vocabulary Review

2018 World Cup: Vocabulary Review In this post we look back at some of the words and phrases that we highlighted during the 2018 World Cup ...