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Learner Podcast 16 – The Euro 2008 Qualifiers

On this week’s learners’ podcast Damian and Damon look back on the Euro 2008 qualifiers and Damian has another English for Football phrase. Try out our worksheets or online quiz to help you practice your listening and vocabulary skills. If you click on the audio when it is playing on an iPod you can see the transcript as you listen. It’s a great way to practice listening and fluency!


  • Damon: We’ve got five, six questions. Let’s start with the first question here: Who was the best player for you?
  • Damian: Well it is difficult, of course, to see all the players playing (Sure), but we did see a lot of football though in Languagecaster Towers…
  • Damon: We did.
  • Damian: I’m going to go for David Healey of Northern Ireland. Scored a hatrick against Spain, and he scored a total of 13 goals in the qualifiers and he’s the new record holder. Well played to him. How about you?
  • Damon: For me? James McFadden. Beautiful left-footed strike against France and imagination and confidence on the ball. Very good all round play.
  • Damon: OK. Second question: What was the most surprising result for you?
  • Damian: Well, there are a few around there, but I’m going to for France and Scotland in Paris. No-one expected the Scots to win, but they beat the French one-nil away with a great James McFadden goal. What about you? What was yours?
  • Damon: Well it’s got to be Cyprus 5 Republic of Ireland 2, hasn’t it. Cyprus ranked 73rd in the world I think, something like that. I mean, 5 goals! That’s like Sunday league football. That’s a surprise!
  • Damian: Damon, which team caught your eye during the qualifiers?
  • Damon: Poland. Qualified for the Euro Championships for the first time. Only lost two games. Topped their group. Beat Portugal. Held them in Portugal. Pretty good all round display, I think. They caught my eye. How about you Damian?
  • Damian: Well sorry about this mate, but it’s going to have to be Croatia. They played the ball so well around, they, you know… Apart from the defeat away in Macedonia last Saturday. I mean they really were impeccable throughout the tournament. They might be some dark horses in the competition in the summer.
  • Damian: Now, Damon for your team, England, what was the biggest moment for them?
  • Damon: Well, unfortunately England had many big moments that lead to their downfall. Was it choosing Steve McClaren as the head coach? Was it the awful October they had in 2006 losing to Croatia, drawing to Macedonia? But I think, well, it’s fresh in the memory but to lose at home in a crucial game when you only need a draw that’s got to be pretty awful and Steve McClaren choosing to change the line-up and to change the formation just, just was unbelievable. Well, that was mine, how about yours, Damian?
  • Damian: Um, there weren’t too many big moments so I’m going to go for a low moment that defined the group for Ireland. they lost 5-2 away to Cyprus. Um, yeah…
  • Damon: So after the campaign, what next for your team?
  • Damian: So, I’m looking forward to a new manager and a new world cup qualifying campaign. How about you?
  • Damon: Me? Well, we’ll be looking for a new manager, I’m sure pretty soon. He might, McClaren might have got the chop as we’re speaking. And I think some of the players from England should get the chop too. I think it’s time to clean the cupboard. Three years now ‘till the World Cup. Of course, the world cup qualifiers we‘ve got to get through, but I think it’s time for a bit of forward thinking. the under 21s for England have done pretty well. I think it’s time some of them were given their chance. Perhaps they won’t be afraid of passing the ball, dribbling with the ball, and maybe scoring some goals.
  • Damian: Um, Bobby Robson didn’t get through his first qualifying campaign and ended up taking England to the World Cup semi-final. Does McClaren deserve a second chance?
  • Damon: No. So, sixteen teams going next summer. Who’s going to win?
  • Damian: Um, you can’t really look outside the top four: Italy, France, Germany and Spain. OK, I mentioned Spain. I always pick ‘em. They never do it. I’m going to pick ‘em again. Spain. How about you?
  • Damon. Spain. I agree. Spain are going to win it. Finally, they’re going to win a big competition. They’re going to live up to their promise.

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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