Learn English Through Football Podcast: Collapse – Real Madrid v PSG Champions League 2022

In this week’s football language podcast for learners of English, we look back at some of the language from the Champions League second leg last-16 game between Real Madrid and PSG and in particular we look at language connected to the word ‘collapse‘ after PSG’s defeat. You can read a 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 admin@languagecaster.com.

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Learn English Through Football Podcast: Collapse – Real Madrid v PSG Champions League 2022

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners of English who love the beautiful game of football. I’m Damian and I’m here in London I’m one half of the languagecaster team, the other member of the team is Damon who of course is based in Tokyo, Japan. And I’m guessing he’s in good form as his favourite team Liverpool are on a great run – nine wins on the bounce; that’s nine consecutive wins or another way to say it would be nine wins in a row. After this amazing run of form, we can also describe this as a rich vein of form, the Reds find themselves in an exciting title race with Manchester City here in England – they are only one point behind the current holders. I wonder if Liverpool, after winning the League Cup in February, are thinking about an unprecedented quadruple – no club has ever won four trophies in one season in England before. What about my favourite team Spurs? Well, our form has also been impressive but not in the same way as Liverpool’s; Tottenham have managed a remarkable run of results in the past 8 matches: four wins and four defeats – a loss followed by a win followed by a loss and then another win and so on. A word to describe Tottenham’s form? Inconsistent.

Now, apologies for the delay in this podcast – it was supposed to go out last week – but it has been a really busy couple of weeks at work (for both of us) so sorry for the delay but hopefully this podcast will be worth the wait. Now, on this show we are looking back at the dramatic Champions League last-16 match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in which the Spanish side staged a dramatic comeback to qualify for the quarter-finals – they knocked Paris out of the cup. We’ll look at a sentence from The Guardian newspaper describing this loss for PSG – a collapse – and then we’ll also look at lots of other ways to describe dramatic defeats in football – hopefully I won’t have to use any of it to talk about any of Tottenham’s future games.

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

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Under the lights of the Bernabéu Paris Saint-Germain produced one of the more extraordinary collapses of elite football’s modern history  (Guardian.co.uk, March 9 2022)
This is how the Guardian newspaper described the PSG defeat in Madrid (The Bernabéu is the name of the Real Madrid stadium, while under the lights refers to the fact that it took place at night (under the floodlights). So, the Spanish side unexpectedly won to go through to the quarter-final and we can say it was unexpected because Paris were winning 1-0 on the night and 2-0 on aggregate with only 17 minutes remaining and yet they ended up losing 3-1 and going out of the competition – they were eliminated from the Champions League. This kind of defeat is known as a collapse in football; when one team looks solid and completely in control of the game but then in a really quick time the team loses this control and folds or collapses into defeat. The sentence here focuses more on this defeat than the Madrid victory by stating that PSG produced an extraordinary collapse, a collapse that was out of the ordinary, or completely unexpected. Interestingly, the report states that this was one of the more extraordinary collapses in recent elite football history (elite here referring to top level football; The Champions League knock out stages) but of course PSG were involved in another collapse against a Spanish side in 2017 when they lost 6-1 against Barcelona in the return leg after winning the first game 4-0 in Paris.

Language of Defeat

OK, let’s have a look at some more language related to defeats in football. We can start by saying that PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Madrid. Now, to be dumped out of a competition suggests that a team has been beaten by a weaker team – it shouldn’t really happen – but sometimes we can use it when a team throws away a lead like PSG did against Real Madrid. So, Madrid dumped PSG out of the Champions League. Another word used to describe a collapse in football is implode which means that a team has played in such a bad way that it has led to their defeat; Paris imploded after Madrid scored the equaliser which means that they could not regain control of the game and this made it easier for Madrid to go on and get the winning goals. In fact, the French side were at sixes and sevens when they lost control of their lead – this of course means their defenders were making basic mistakes (schoolboy errors) and running around like headless chickens – allowing Madrid to cancel out the PSG lead when Benzema pounced on yet another defensive gaffe. And then seconds later – from the kick-off – the home side capitalised on another error from the PSG defence and when the ball fell kindly to Benzema he completed his hat-trick and the remarkable turnaround to knock out the French side and to send through the 13-time champions.

To overturn a lead is another way of describing Real’s comeback victory and this phrase means that a team has staged a comeback and is now winning the game after being behind; they have come from behind to win. Another way to describe PSG’s Champions League exit is that they have blown a lead – they were comfortably winning but they still ended up losing. The fact that PSG have been involved in dramatic collapses may suggest that they lack bottle or that they choke under pressure.

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

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Now, if you want to ask any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on the site, or using the forum, sending an email to us at admin@languagecaster.com or by looking for us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in Spanish and we’d love to hear from anyone else who might like to share the message, ‘you are listening to Languagecaster.com‘ in their or indeed any other language. We have lots and lots of different languages but we are always looking out for more. And, don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site here at languagecaster.com.

OK, that’s it for this short podcast – and delayed podcast, again apologies – in which we have looked back at some of the words and phrases that described the dramatic PSG collapse in their Champions League defeat in Madrid, including, ‘blow a lead‘; ‘dumped out of a competition‘ and ‘implode‘. Thanks again everyone for listening and enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon with more football language. Bye bye.

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