Learn English Through Football: July 2020 FA Cup Semi Final and Real Madrid

Learn English Through Football: July 2020 FA Cup Semi Final and Real Madrid – This week’s football-language podcast reviews the FA Cup semi-finals and also looks at some football language that emerged from the week, including the phrase ‘flighted pass’.

2020 North London Derby and Champions League DrawLearn English Through Football: July 2020 FA Cup Semi Final and Real Madrid. This week’s football-language podcast reviews the FA Cup semi-finals and also looks at some football language that emerged from the week, including the phrase ‘flighted pass’. We also have a football-language quiz question and try and predict some of the upcoming games.

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 dating from way back in 2006! Improve your English by reading the transcript as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several listening and/or reading activities for your learners. If you have questions or comments then you can email us at: admin@languagecaster.com (Damon=DB; Damian=DF).

Learn English Through Football: July 2020 FA Cup Semi Final and Real Madrid


DF: You are listening to languagecaster.com. Hello everyone, we hope you are all safe and well and welcome to the podcast for fans of football, especially those wishing to improve their English language skills. We’ve been explaining the vocabulary, phrases and cliches of football since 2006, and we also just enjoy talking about the beautiful game. My name’s Damian and I’m based in London and down the line half a world away in Tokyo is Damon. How are things, Damon, and what football have you been watching?

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DB: Hi Damian. All good here in Tokyo, despite the slow rise in COVID-19 numbers. Well, I watched my team, Liverpool, lose a game, for only the third time this season in the league, and that was in the game against Arsenal that we talked about in our predictions last week. I predicted a lackluster performance and a draw and got both elements of that prediction wrong. The performance was quite good, I think Liverpool peppered the goal with 24 shots and about 75% possession, but they threw the game away with two defensive howlers. I sense more anti-climax to come for the Champions.

Along with that I’ve seen a lot of highlights, including Norwich versus Burnley, more on that in our football news review section, and the whole first FA Cup semi final between Arsenal and Manchester City. How about you?

DF: Well, I saw that Liverpool-Arsenal game and the two FA Cup semi-finals this weekend – a good week for Arsenal after their North London derby defeat last weekend. I also saw Spurs win away at Newcastle and then defeat Leicester at home, while I also caught the relegation six pointer between West Ham and Watford.

Line up

You are listening to languagecaster.com (in French)

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in French. Send us a message in your language too – just contact us here at admin@languagecaster.com. And please think about supporting what we do via patreon.com/languagecaster. Your donations and support help us keep the site and podcasts free.

DF: Now, what’s on the rest of the show, Damon.

DB: We’ll have a little news about some new posts we have on the site, followed by our football news section next, featuring Real Madrid, Manchester City, Watford among others. After that, it’s our football language section, with the phrase ‘flighted cross’ and also our football language quiz, which has a food-based theme this week.

DF: Interesting.

DB: Yep, and then we’ll end the show with a look at a couple of big games coming up this week.

DF: Sounds good


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DF: OK, first something about some new posts from languagecaster. You may have noticed that we have been posting some polls recently to hear your opinions about the new drinks break rule and also whether five substitutes is a good idea – both initiatives have been brought in since football came back from its COVID-19 enforced break.

DB: Well, there’s talk about Liverpool being really bad just after the drinks breaks, so I’m against them! Listeners, let us know what you think and keep your eyes out for these polls or come along to the site languagecaster.com. Right, next we review the football news, and here’s Damian with some of the good news from the week.

Football News: Good

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DF: Congratulations to Real Madrid who won their 34th La Liga title earlier this week after defeating Villareal 2-1. Los Blancos were unstoppable after the break winning ten matches in a row and were too strong for rivals Barcelona who finished five points behind them. Can Real continue this run in the Champions League?

DB: And great news for one of the big teams of the last 50 years in England, Leeds United, who have been promoted to the Premier League after an absence of 16 years. Most pundits and fans put Leeds’ success down to the manager Marcelo Bielsa, the Argentinian former coach of Chile. In fact, a street in the city centre has been renamed Bielsa Street in his honor. The team from Yorkshire secured promotion and the Championship was sewn up after bottom side Barnsley, another Yorkshire team, lost to them 1-0. Well done Leeds.

Football News: Bad

DF: Well, it was a bad night for Manchester City yesterday as they went down 2-0 against Arsenal in the first of the two FA Cup semi-finals taking place this weekend. City were defending their title and after winning the Carabao Cup in February and being one of the favourites for the Champions League, were going for a treble but came up against a resolute Arsenal defence. City looked short of ideas and were hit twice on the counter with some clinical finishing from Arsenal striker Aubameyang.

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DB: Bad for Watford, who have been sucked into the relegation battle. The Hornets lost a six-pointer against West Ham 3-1. This means that Bournemouth and Aston Villa, both on 31 points and 3 behind Watford will believe they have a chance of escaping the drop. They could be right, too, as Watford face games against Man City and in form Arsenal in their last two matches – when they will also be without a manager as Nigel Pearson was fired at the weekend – crazy times for Watford.

Football News: Ugly

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DF: And I’m going to finish with Norwich and an ugly game for them. They have already been relegated but you would expect them to at least give their fans something to cheer. However, the Canaries imploded – they played so poorly that their opposition, Burnley, didn’t really need to try and easily won 2-0. Buendía was given a straight red for an off the ball elbow. He was followed by Drmic, whose two-footed lunge brought another red. Two minutes later and just before the half time whistle, the goalkeeper, Tim Krul, then let a tame shot bounce over him to give Burnley a 1-0 lead. And the ugly day for Norwich was completed by an own goal by Godfrey. A match to forget for the Canaries.

You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Irish)

DB: And next, it’s some football language.

Football Language: Flighted ball

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DB: We often discuss passing in these posts, as it is a key area of football. One kind of pass, or cross, is often delivered a long way and over opposition players. We can whip in a cross for example, we can hoof the ball upfield to clear some danger and hope your team receives the ball. But if we want to describe a cross that is high and also accurate, we can use the adjective flighted to describe it – a flighted cross or ball is passed high and usually into the box from the sides of the pitch, from the wings. A flighted ball could also be a direct ball down the middle of the pitch over the opposition defense for an attacker to run on to. A little less often you can hear the word used as a verb, to flight a cross into the box for example. Either as an adjective – a flighted ball – or as a verb – to flight a cross – the image is of a ball passed high and accurately to a teammate.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (Italian)

Football Language Quiz: Football and food

DB: OK, time for a football language quiz question. This week we have phrases for football that contain a reference to food – yes food! Which one of the following phrases would NOT be used, or is not a phrase used in football.

  1. pepper the goal
  2. a meaty challenge
  3. a bread and butter cross
  4. a cocktail pass

DB: And we’ll have the answer at the end of the show.


DB: Next up we look at some of the big games this week in our predictions section. Come along to our site at languagecaster.com and join our post-lockdown mini predictions league and see if you can beat myself and Damian. Remember that it’s three points for a perfect score and one for the correct score.

FA Cup Semi-final: Manchester United vs Chelsea

DB: Before this game, both sides had shown signs of progress under their new managers. Both teams also seem to be finding a style that suits them, and they have picked up some good results since the re-opening of football. A real coin toss this one, but I thought Man United would have more nous and win 2-1.

DF: I thought this was going to be an easy win for United too but unfortunately for them (and me) Chelsea outplayed them to win 3-1 and set up an all-London FA Cup final to be played in two weeks time.

Premier League: Tottenham vs Leicester City

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DB: Another interesting tie. Tottenham are desperate to stay above Arsenal and maybe get a Europa League place, while Leicester were clinging on to fourth spot and a Champions League place. Tottenham to win ugly – 1-0.

DF: I didn’t think we would win this but felt it would end in a draw but Spurs ran out 3-0 winners – the game was over at half time in fact. No points for me in the predictions but I don’t mind as we pick up our third win in a row.

Serie A: Juventus vs Lazio

DB: Lazio were so close at one stage not so long ago, and they must have been dreaming of a title. Three losses and a draw in the last four mean they have dropped down the table. I thought this would be a Juventus win 2-0.

DF: Yes, a pity about Lazio’s challenge but Juventus have not been in good form either – I thought maybe a draw here: 1-1.

DB: Well, I was right. Juventus march on after a 2-1 win over Lazio.

Football Language Quiz Answer: Football and food

DB: OK, time for the answer to our football language quiz question. We wanted to know which phrase, each of which refers to food, would NOT be used, or is not a phrase used in football.

  1. pepper the goal
  2. a meaty challenge
  3. a bread and butter cross
  4. a cocktail pass

DB: Damian? What’s the answer.

DF: Well ‘pepper the goal‘ means have a lot of shots; a ‘meaty challenge’ is a hard tackle, and a ‘bread and butter cross’ is a cross that defenders have no difficulty defending, it is a style of cross they are very used to. So, the answer is a cocktail pass, which I’m guessing Damon made up, as I’ve never heard it before.

DB: That’s right. ‘A cocktail pass’ is a made up phrase that you won’t hear in football. Well done if you got that right!

Good Bye

DF: Yes, see you next week. And remember to drop us a line at languagecaster through our various social media platforms or just give us some likes, retweets, and spread the word – we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. See you next week – it’s the last week of the Premier League season. Bye bye.

DB: Ta-ra!

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