Learn English Through Football: Champions League Final 2017

Champions League Final 2017: The European football season reaches its climax with the Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid…

Champions League Final 2017The 2016-17 European football season reached its climax a couple of weeks ago with the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid and on this week’s show we will be looking back at that game, as well as rounding up some of the big stories from the football world. We’ll be explaining some football words and phrases, asking a quiz question and of course talking about our predictions for the big game. There is also a transcript for those who wish to practise their reading and listening skills (Damian = DF, Damon = DB).

Learn English Through Football Podcast: Champions League Final 2017

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Transcript of the show

DF: You’re listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hello everyone. Welcome to the podcast for all those who love the beautiful game and want to improve their English skills. My name’s Damian and I’m here in a cloudy and cool London which is a bit of a relief after the mini heatwave we’ve had this week. Hopefully Damon is on the other end of the line in Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Damon, how are things and how is the weather there?

DB: Hi Damian, well it’s June, so that means it is the rainy season and the weather is living up to that name – grey, rainy and humid. Now, it’s been a while since our last podcast, what have you been up to?

DF: Yes, well, we have to apologise for the delay in releasing this podcast – I actually was putting the show together the day after the Champions League final when my computer crashed so here we are three weeks later with a little more perspective on the big game! I also have to say hello and apologise for the delay to Ahmed who contacted me through our Facebook page and he has been waiting patiently for the Champions League podcast to celebrate his favourite team’s win. Of course, he’s a Real Madrid fan.

DB: Well, hello Ahmed and to everyone else who listens to us – drop us a line at admin@languagecaster.com to let us know what you think of the show.

DF: Damon, have you been watching any of the Confederation Cup football that’s taking place in Russia? A quick question for you – can you name the eight teams that are taking part in this World Cup warm-up?

DB: Well, I have to hold my hand up and admit that, no, I haven’t been watching any of the Confederations Cup – summer brings other temptations like rugby and the Lions tour and cricket with the Champions Trophy. And one eye has been on the under-21s competition in Europe. As for the teams, let me have a go – Russia, of course, New Zealand and Mexico, I did read about the physical nature of that clash, Portugal, Germany and Chile, now that’s six. What are the other two?

DF: Not a bad attempt Damon. The other two are Australia and Cameroon!

DB: I did know that! Right Damian, what’s on the show today?

Line up

DF: Well, of course we’ll be talking about the Champions League final – in our good, bad and ugly section which also includes stories from the women’s Champions League final; we’ll also have some stories about Real Madrid in our bad section as well as news on a new initiative on penalties. After that, a football cliche in our football language section – goals change games – and we have a quiz question, too.

DB: Great stuff!

DB: Right, let’s kick off with some football news from last week.


DF: Well, we have to congratulate Real Madrid on their Champions League victory over Juventus. This was the Spanish side’s 12th win in this competition, while they also became the first side to win back-to-back titles in the Champions League era – indeed, the first team since AC Milan won consecutive European Cups back in 1990. Madrid also won a league and Champions League double – that’s the first time they have managed this in over 50 years while their star player Ronaldo scored a brace – that’s two goals – to take his Champions League tally to 108 goals which included hat-tricks against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final and Atlético Madrid in the semi-final. Well done to him and to Real Madrid. Damon, what else was good from the football world recently?

DB: OK, well, let’s start with congratulating Arsenal (sorry Damian) on their record 13th win in the FA Cup; we should salute Dortmund, who were crowned the Pokal Cup champions with a 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt; we need to mention Huddersfield Town’s play-off win and promotion to the Premier League; and well done to Lyon, who overcame PSG in the Women’s Champions League Final. Now, Lyon have won the Champions League four times, equalling Frankfurt’s achievement. Indeed the French side, who won in a dramatic penalty shoot out 7-6, have either won or appeared in the final six times in the last eight years. Anything else?

DF: Well, England won the U-20 World Cup in South Korea in May and June …

DB: Get in!

DF: …yeah… after defeating Venezuela 1-0 in the final, so maybe there are some good times ahead for the English national team based on their underage sides. How about bad Damon?


DB: Well, I suppose we have to mention Juventus here as they had a particularly bad second half in their defeat against Real in the Champions League final. This loss now means that the Turin club have been defeated in seven European Cup/Champions League finals, while it also means that their goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon continues in his quest for a Champions League trophy – the only major honour to elude him. Anything else Damian?

DF: Well, there is possibly some bad news for former and current Real Madrid players Ronaldo and Angel Di María as well as former manager Jose Mourinho who are being investigated by tax authorities in Spain. Now, Di Maria had to pay back the tax he owed as well as a fine while we are waiting to see what happens with Ronaldo and Mourinho.

DB: Interesting. What about ugly Damian?


DF: Not so much ugly but definitely controversial. The International Football Association Board have put forward some suggestions for rule changes to make the game more attractive and one of these is to make games last 60 minutes – that’s two 30-minute halves with the clock stopping every time the ball goes out of play. What do you think Damon?

DB: Well, I’m not a fan of that idea. Time wasting is all part of the game. It winds up the fans and opposition, and the referee is there with enough powers to add on extra time and book players, so I don’t see the point.

DF: Yes, fair enough, I agree with you. Anything else?

DB: Well we’ll finish with another development in the game, which involves a proposed change to the way penalty shoot outs are held. Of course a penalty shoot out, like the one in the Women’s Champions League final, are used to decide a game after normal time and extra time has failed to provide a winner. A coin is tossed and one team starts the shoot out, followed by the other team, with both teams taking it in turns to take their penalties; so team A, team, B, team A, team B etc. Now, the new proposal is for an ‘ABBA’ style: A-B-B-A. Team A starts but team B then takes two penalties followed by two by team A and so on. Now, the reasoning is that research suggests that the team going first in a penalty shoot out has a slight advantage – about 60% of shoot outs are won by the team going first. The ABBA style is an attempt to make it more even. It was trialled at a recent European Under-17 women’s competition in a match involving Germany and Norway. Germany went first and went on to win despite the new changes. Damian, what do you think?

DF: Well, it could work I suppose though I wonder if there might be an alternative to penalties themselves?

DB: Indeed.

Follow us

DF: OK, we’d just like to remind people to get in touch with us and spread the word if you like our show and our site. You can of course email us directly at admin@languagecaster.com and you can follow us on all the usual places, that’s twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Recently I posted some football photos from Spain – Damon, I was down in Malaga where I used to stand and watch the Malaga team back in the 80s and the 90s – while we also have a forum where you can ask us any football-language questions.

DB: Yes, there are some great photos. Thanks for that Damian.

Fantasy Football

DB: And with the 2016-17 season now over it’s time to congratulate Brendan Rovers on his Languagecaster Premier League Fantasy Football victory. Brendan finished on 2166 points which was over 100 points better than runner-up Gleason’s Earguard.

DF: Damon, where did you finish this season?

DB: Well, after a good start I finished up in 7th – halfway – so not too bad. I must admit I did miss a few weeks! I’ll be back next season even stronger. How about you?

DF: Well, a strong finish from Tottenham striker Harry Kane saw me finish in third place so a good season for me. And yes, we will be back next season for another Languagecaster fantasy football league and that’s our third. This season we had 13 players so hopefully we can have more next time round. By the way Damon, the fixtures for next season have already been published. Who do Liverpool play in the first game of the season?

DB: Well, we play Watford away whch is a tricky draw but not too bad – last year we had Arsenal. What about Spurs?

DF: We are also away – at Newcastle; newly-promoted Newcastle. And the season kicks off on August 12th – that’s what… six or seven weeks away?

DB: It is indeed. Looking forward to it.

DF: Right and now a little bit of football language – and this time it’s a cliche.

Football Language: Goals change games

DB: This cliche, goals change games, is up there with it’s a game of two halves and it’s not over until the final whistle, as one of those cliches that states something so obvious it doesn’t need to be said – as a cliche though, commentators and pundits can’t stop themselves from saying goals change games. Of course goals change games. It’s usually used when talking about imagining a situation when a goal wasn’t scored, and talking about how the game would have been different. For example, you might say that ‘Goals change games and if Arsenal hadn’t scored so early, Chelsea may have settled in the FA Cup final and gone on to win the game.’ Another situation you will hear this phrase is if a team scores just before half time – the inference being that this goal was more important than a goal scored at another time. Goals change games. Anything else Damian?

Football Language: BBC

DF: Yes, I’m going to talk about the football phrase BBC and this one is connected to the Champions League final. It’s an abbreviation that football fans may have heard over the weeks leading up to the Champions League final – BBC. Now of course, the BBC is of course the abbreviated form for the British Broadcasting Corporation here in the UK – that’s the state TV channel – but with the Champions League final taking place in Cardiff the abbreviation BBC has another meaning. For Real Madrid fans BBC stands for Bale, Benzema and Cristiano – the front three players for Los Blancos, while for Juventus fans BBC refers to their defenders: Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini. Now Madrid are famed for their attacking play while Juventus’ strength is their defence. BBC.

DB: Good stuff.

Quiz question

DF: Now for a quick quiz question and it’s connected to the Champions League. Last year’s Champions League final – the 2016 version – between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid went to penalties. After Juanfran missed for Atlético, who scored the winner for Real? We have the answer at the end of the show.

The Champions League Final 2017

DB: Hmm… I think I know that one. Well, this final didn’t go to penalties, did it Damian?

DF: Not at all. Real stepped up the pressure after half-time and scored three unanswered goals to run out 4-1 winners.

DB: So, that’s an amazing 12 titles for Real Madrid, as you mentioned before, three titles in the last four years, and Ronaldo notches up another golden boot, top-scorer award – that’s six and one more than Messi. A bit disappointing that the game was so one-sided after Real’s second goal went in, and Mandzukic’s incredible goal will be of little consolation. Was that your highlight, Damian?

DF: It was a great goal but I suppose the highlight would be the fact that Real Madrid have retained the trophy – an amazing feat indeed. What about that quiz question Damon?

Quiz Answer

DB: Yes, before we go, here’s the answer to the quiz question we just asked. Who scored the winning penalty in last year’s Champions League final penalty shoot out? And the answer is…?

DF: None other than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Good bye

DB: Right. That’s it for this week’s podcast – drop us a line and let us know what you think of the show. Enjoy all of the football while we are on a bit of a summer holiday until the new season, we will be posting and doing a few specials over the next couple of months, so stay tuned! Ta-rah!

DF: Yes, we might even take a look at the final of the Confederations Cup tournament taking place in Russia next week. Damon, only a year until the 2018 World Cup finals.

DB: Indeed.

DF: See you everybody.

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

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.


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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