Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2023 September International Break

2023 International break

In this football language podcast we look back at some of the language from the recent international break, including ‘maintain their 100% record‘ and ‘to be too good for‘ and we look ahead to the next round of matches in the Premier League. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at: admin@languagecaster.com.

Contact Us  Forum Glossary

Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2023 September International Break

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I’m based here in London where the weather is warm and dry as we move into Autumn. The latest international break has just taken place: qualifiers for the 2024 European Championship, the 2024 AFCON tournament, the start of the CONMEBOL qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup and some friendlies and this meant it has been a busy time for footballers. And on today’s podcast we will be looking back at some of the language from some of those matches as we look at some of the good, bad and ugly moments from the past week.

Now apologies for the delay in this football-language report, both Damon, who is of course based in Tokyo, Japan, and myself have been on short breaks but we are back for the new season of football-language podcasts. And it is already looking good for both Damon’s favourite team Liverpool and my team Tottenham as they remain undefeated after the opening four games of the 2023-24 season. Undefeated, of course, means that neither side has lost a game yet – both teams have 10 points from their opening four matches which is a great start to the season although still two points behind the holders Manchester City who have a 100% record – they have won all four of their games so far. And we’ll be looking at some of the upcoming games from this weekend in our weekly predictions competition.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (from a Spanish fan)

Yes, that message was from a Spanish fan and and yes, you are listening to Languagecaster.com. Now, don’t forget to come along to our site at Languagecaster.com where you can hear more podcasts from the recent 2023 Women’s World Cup and also you can access all our other previous football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them that date back over the last 15 years.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (from Vietnamese fans)

2023 September International Break

OK, as I mentioned at the start of the show, the international break has just taken place and we are going to look back at some of the language used to describe some of the good, the bad and the ugly stories from some of these matches. Here’s some of the vocabulary that you will hear:

  • Maintained their 100% records: These teams are still unbeaten; indeed they have won all of their games
  • On the verge of qualifying: This means that something is about to happen – Scotland have almost qualified for the European Championship so we can say that they are on the verge of qualifying.
  • Much too good for: One team is much better than the other team; they are superior than their opponents.
  • Penalised: This means to be punished so if a team is penalised points it means they have had points taken away from their total (or deducted)
  • Need a miracle: This expression means that a team has very little chance of winning or in this case qualifying and will need something special to do so.
  • Discriminatory behaviour: This happens when some people show prejudice or negative feelings against another group of people – maybe because of race, religion or gender.

The Good

Embed from Getty Images

It was a good week for France, Scotland and Portugal who maintained their 100% records in the European Championship qualifiers and are all now on the verge of qualifying for the finals in Germany next summer. Portugal thrashed third-place Luxembourg 9-0, while Scotland easily won away in Cyprus and France were much too good for the Republic of Ireland. It was also a good international break for Spain who had two big wins to put them back into contention in their group: 6-0 versus Cyprus and then 7-1 away in Georgia, while the Netherlands and Italy also had good wins against group rivals that sees their qualification back in their own hands.

The 2026 World Cup qualification process has now started with games taking place in the South American region (that’s CONMEBOL). The ten teams will play each other home and away over the next two years (that’s 18 matches for each side) and they’ll be playing for six direct qualification spots with the team coming in seventh place entering a play-off. After the first two rounds of matches, Argentina and Brazil are the only two teams with a 100% records with Colombia in third position unbeaten on four points. Now, two good stories from the region include Ecuador’s 2-1 come from behind win over Uruguay which means they now have zero points after they had been penalised three points before the competition had even started. The other good news story is that Brazilian star Neymar is now his country’s all-time leading goalscorer after his two goals (that’s a brace) helped Brazil to a 5-1 win over Bolivia. He now has 79 goals from 125 games which means he has overtaken Pele who has 77 goals. Well done to Neymar – a fantastic achievement!

The Bad

Embed from Getty Images

Well, it was a bad week for the Irish teams – that’s both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who suffered two defeats each which left their chances of qualifying for the 2024 Euros in a very bad way. Northern Ireland lost 4-2 in Slovenia and then lost 1-0 away in Kazakhstan and this was their fifth defeat in a row – and these defeats have left them second bottom of the group. The Republic of Ireland were not really expected to win against the World Cup runners-up France in Paris but they were completely outplayed in their 0-2 defeat. And although they did play a little better in their next match at home against the Dutch they still lost 1-2 which means they will need a miracle to qualify for next summer’s finals.

Another big story from Europe involved the 2024 European Championship hosts Germany as they fired their manager Hansi Flick after another poor performance – the home defeat against Japan was their fifth game without a win. Flick did not have a good World Cup when Germany failed to make it out of their group and confidence among players and fans is really low. It will be interesting to see who will take over the national side and whether they can lift the hosts before the 2024 finals next summer.

The Ugly

Well, there were some ugly scenes in the Group I match in the European qualifiers between Romania and Kosovo as some home Romanian fans held up banners that attacked their opponents and were seen as: “discriminatory behavior” according to UEFA. The referee suspended the game for a short while – he stopped the game – which is interesting that he decided to do this.

The French international Paul Pogba is facing a difficult time as he failed a drug test for his club Juventus at the start of the season. The second test result has yet to be released so there is still a chance he will be cleared but this incident has not helped Pogba in his attempts to return to the high levels of the game.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Dutch)


Now regular listeners will remember that Damon and myself used to do a regular weekly predictions battle in which we tried to guess the scores from some of the big games each week and we thought it would be fun if we brought this feature back for this season. And we’re going to have a guest predictor each week also trying to predict the scores making it Damon versus Damian versus the guests! Remember, if we get the exact score right then we get three points while if we manage to get the right result but not the exact score then we get one point.

The Language of Predictions

OK, let’s take a look at the games from this week which feature the top four in the Premier League. And our guest predictor this week is Lowestoft Town FC supporter Tracey – Lowestoft Town are a non-league club from the east coast of England for those who may not know them.

Tottenham v Sheffield United

As a Spurs fan I am delighted with the start to the season and on paper we should win this home game against newly-promoted Sheffield United who have yet to win a game this season. I am going for a 2-1 home win. Damon has also gone for a home victory – he said Tottenham would win 3-1, while Tracey has gone for a 2-1 win for Spurs as well.

Wolves v Liverpool

Liverpool have also started well and should manage to get three points away at Wolves who have been very inconsistent so far this season – remember, that if a team is inconsistent it means they are sometimes playing well and other times really badly. However, unlike Sheffield United they do have a win but I don’t think they’ll win here – 0-3 to Liverpool for me. Tracey thinks Liverpool will win 2-0, while Damon has gone for the same score.

West Ham v Manchester City

This game sees the leaders Man City take on fourth-placed West Ham at the London Stadium in what should be a really interesting match. But despite West Ham’s very positive start to the season, I think that City will be too strong for the East London side and will run out 2-0 winners. Damon has gone for a 1-1 draw while Tracey has also said that this top-of-the table clash will finish 1-1.

Matches Damian Damon Tracey (Guest)
Tottenham v Sheffield United  2-1  3-1  2-1
Wolves v Liverpool  0-3  0-2  0-2
West Ham v Manchester City 0-2   1-1  1-1
Weekly Points 5 2 4
Total Points 5 2 4

What do you think of our predictions? Let us know by adding them below the post or by dropping us a line at admin@languagecaster.com. Next week we will be looking at the following three matches – some huge derbies!

  • The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham
  • The Madrid derby, that’s Atlético Madrid versus Real Madrid
  • And the big game in France: PSG vs Marseille

So if you’d like to play for the guest’s team then send on a message to us at admin@languagecaster.com or you could even send us an audio file – we’d love to hear from you.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (from a West Ham fan)

Football Language

Now recently we have posted some new football language expressions on our site including ‘wipe the floor with‘ which is used when one team easily defeats or thrashes another and also the phrase ‘challenge‘ when talking about tackling.  Come along to our site to look at those posts and don’t forget that you can find out more about these and hundreds more football-language phrases by coming along to our football-language glossary here at Languagecaster.




Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (a Wrexham fan).


DF: OK, if you have any questions or comments then drop us an email at admin@languagecaster.com and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on Threads, while we will be posting some material on our new YouTube page very soon too – so come along and say hello. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football. Take a look at these posts there, do some of the quizzes that are there, add a comment or a question or simply say hi!

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in French).


DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from a French football fan. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast with lots of vocabulary support. If you look at the posts on our site you can see that  we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript, so just come along and have a look!

OK, that’s it for this podcast in which we looked back at some of the language from the international break including ‘maintain their 100% record‘; ‘on the verge of qualifying‘ and ‘to be much too good for‘. Let us know if you hear any of the phrases that we’ve used on today’s show – in any language of course. And don’t forget to look out for our predictions and enjoy all the football this weekend. We’ll see you again soon when we’ll be looking at more football language. Bye bye!

Related Vocabulary

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.

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at languagecaster.com.

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

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

PodcastEpisode 241