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Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: 2024 European Championship Qualifiers in Numbers

The qualifying rounds for the 2024 European Championship tournament in Germany begin this week and on this short football language podcast we take a look at some of the language used to describe the qualifying rounds by focusing on some key numbers. You can read the 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

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Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: 2024 European Championship Qualifiers in Numbers

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I’m here in London where spring has arrived finally, so this of course means it is wet and windy here in the UK! The other member of the Languagecaster team is Damon who regular listeners to the show will know is based in Japan. I wonder if he is starting to see any signs of Spring in Tokyo yet? He also posted a recent podcast on the phrase ‘to secure’ and looked at the expressions ‘to secure the title’ and ‘to secure the points‘ as well as ‘to earn’ – you can find this and lots of other resources on our Learning English Through Football site here at

Stinger: You are listening to (in Czech)

OK, I hope you are all doing well and enjoying all the football. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us Tottenham fans after the manager Antonio Conte appeared to have lost the dressing room after publicly criticising the players – you can come along to our site to explore the meaning of this phrase ‘lose the dressing room‘ in more detail along with hundreds of other football-related phrases in our glossary. Now, one of the phrases that we have talked about recently on our site is ‘the international break‘ which is a period of time when domestic football in some of the top leagues and divisions around the world takes a break as players go and play for (or represent) their countries in international competitions and friendlies. There are games taking place all over the world – there are qualifiers for the 2023 African Cup of Nations and for the CONCACAF Nations League – that’s of course for countries from North and Central America and as I mentioned before, lots of international friendlies, including 2022 World Cup winners Argentina facing Panama in Buenos Aires – that should be some celebration party!

Stinger: You are listening to (in Danish)

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Yes, you are listening to and that message or stinger was from a Danish football fan and as our main focus on this week’s show is all about the European Championship 2024 qualifiers, all of the stingers will be from European voices. Can you name them all? We’ll have the answers at the end of the show. Oh, here’s another one!

Stinger: You are listening to (in French)


So, on this show we are going to look at the qualifying campaign for the European Championship tournament that will take place in Germany in 2024. Let’s remind ourselves of the meaning of the word ‘qualify‘ and some of its related forms. To qualify for something describes when a team moves from one round or group to a higher stage or the next round in a competition. So, for example, we can say that Ireland did not qualify for the last World Cup as they finished third behind Serbia and Portugal in their qualifying group. We can also say that Serbia and Portugal both qualified for the finals in Qatar; Serbia finished first and qualified directly, while Portugal qualified by winning a play off – they qualified via a play off. So, for a team to reach the next round or stage of a competition they need to qualify for that stage. They will have to play qualifying games or another term for these games is ‘qualifiers‘. We are about to start the European Championship qualifiers (or qualifying matches). Another form of the word qualify is qualification which is used to describe the process of qualifying; so the qualification campaign, for example – or to describe when a team has reached the next round of the tournament (the team clinched qualification with a win away in Paris, for example). I think I am dreaming as an Irish fan there!

Stinger: You are listening to (in Greek)


OK, that was another stinger – what language was that in?

OK, so we are looking at the qualifying campaign of European teams but what do we mean when we use the term ‘campaign‘? The word ‘campaign‘ is often used to describe a period of time when a team is involved in a competition or tournament. It is an interesting term because it is often used in war (for example, to wage an unsuccessful campaign) and also in politics (so, the political campaign was successful). In football, it is often used to describe the season or a competition which can be seen in the following examples here:

  • Example: They have one more point than they did at this stage during their title-winning campaign in 2015-16 (BBC, 2019)
  • Example: Nuno Espirito Santo has praised his players’ commitment and togetherness during their packed campaign, which has seen them play 31 games as they juggle domestic competition with their first European campaign in almost 40 years (BBC, 2019)

So, the first example describes the 2015-16 season when Leicester won the Premier League – another way of saying this would be ‘title-winning season’, while in the second one, campaign refers to the season so far for Wolves (which has been busy which is why it is described as a ‘packed campaign‘ games every three days for example). Wolves are also involved in a European competition for the first time in 40 years and this involvement is described as a European campaign.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Irish)

Right, let’s take a look at the qualification process for the 2024 European Championship as teams begin their qualifying campaigns. There are some interesting groups including Group C which sees the finalists from the last tournament (that’s Euro 2020) with Italy and England facing off. They’ll also have Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta in that group. Spain, Scotland and Norway face each other in Group A, while Turkey, Wales and Croatia will be battling it out in Group D. Now as many of you know, I am an Ireland fan and I was hoping that Ireland would have a chance of qualifying for the finals in 2024 but they were drawn in the same group as 2022 World Cup runners-up France and the Netherlands who are ranked number 1 in Europe. The Irish will also have to face former champions Greece and outsiders Gibraltar in Group B. It’s going to be quite tough I think for the boys in green.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Italian)

Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: 2024 European Championship Qualifiers in Numbers

Okay, let’s look at some of the key numbers for this set of European Championship qualifiers.


This will be the 17th time that the European Championships will take place – the first one was back in 1960 – though there have only been qualifying rounds in operation since 1968. Back then the group stage consisted of eight groups of four teams with only the winners progressing to the knock-out stages (that’s to the last eight or quarter finals).


This is the number of teams that will be involved in the qualifying process for the 2024 finals; so 53 teams have entered these qualifiers. Germany as hosts will not have to qualify, while Russia are currently barred, or banned or stopped or prevented from European competitions so will not be in the qualifiers.


The 53 teams have been divided into ten groups for the group stage. Seven of the groups have five teams in them, (that’s Groups A-G) and the remaining three (that’s H-J) have six teams playing in them. The three lowest seeds (er… maybe we can call these teams ‘minnows‘) in the UEFA rankings appeared as the sixth side in groups H to J so San Marino are in Group  H; Andorra play in Group I and Liechtenstein in Group J.


This is the number of teams that will qualify along with hosts Germany for the finals in summer 2024. The top two from each group will automatically qualify for the finals – so the winners and runners-up of the ten groups and the remaining three places or spots will be decided by a series of play-offs based on the performances in the Nations League tournament. A little bit complicated there.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Spanish)

Now, remember that you can also access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006 – and you can do this by coming along to our site here at We also have a huge football-language glossary with hundreds of football words and phrases that you can find on our Learning English Through Football site.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Welsh)



Football Language Glossary


OK, if you have any questions or comments then drop us an email at and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football, while there are also some football-language quizzes there to help build your vocabulary. We’ve just updated the forum so we’d love to hear what you think about it too.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Hungarian).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from a Hungarian fan. So, we also had comments from fans from Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Wales, (The Czech Republic and Spain) France and Greece. And well done if you got them all! And if you’d like to send on another language then send on an audio file to us at Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support – we explain lots of the meanings of the words in the transcript, which you can access by coming along to our site. OK, that’s it for this podcast about the 2024 European Championship qualifying process – the qualifiers. Which teams do you think will qualify for the finals in Germany 2024? Enjoy all the international football over the next few days and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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