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Learners’ Podcast 17 – World Cup Qualifiers

The 2010 World Cup will be held in South Africa

On this week’s show Damian and Damon look at the World Cup Qualifying draw made in South Africa last week. Damon also has a new 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!

Last weekend the World Cup Qualifying Draw for countries in Africa, Asia, Central and North America, as well as Europe took place in host nation South Africa. Now this draw is important as it decides which teams may be participating in the 2010 Finals.

So, on this week’s show the Languagecaster team will focus on some of the standout groups in Asia and Europe and listen to the reaction from fans of some of the countries taking part. First up we look at Europe where there are nine groups with the winners and four of the runners up of each group qualifying for the tournament.

Here’s what a group of England fans said on hearing the draw.

Damian: Happy with the group?

Paul: Yes, Croatia, it could have been France, it could have been Germany, it could have been…

DF: Ireland. So, you’ll qualify?

Ed: Of course, forever the optimist.

Tim: No, actually we will cruise this qualification.

DF: Hmm, how quickly they forget. Maybe we’ll get a more measured response from Damon?

What do you think of England’s chances of qualifying?

Damon: Well, they’ve gotta’ be favourite, I think despite losing to Croatia.

DF: Do you not learn anything?

Damon: No, I don’t, not at all. They’ve got to be favourites, they’re up against Andorra, Belarus, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Ukraine could be tough, then there’s a lot of distance of course going to Kazakhstan is a pretty long haul flight. But their main rivals, I think, will again be Croatia but I think they’re going to have enough time to build an exciting young team that will be able to learn from their loss to Croatia and take them on at their own game, I hope. I think they ‘re going to be favourites and I think they”ll qualify as winners.

Damon: So how about you? How about Ireland?
Damian:  Ireland got a tough group, we’re in with …

Damon: It is pretty tough isn’t it?

Damian: Yes, we’ve got Bulgaria, Cyprus, of course who caused us trouble, Georgia who defeated Scotland in the recent European Championships Montenegro should be doable and then the World Champions, Italy.

Damon: They’re going to be tough aren’t they?

Damian: Yes.

Damon: How about, looking at the groups, what do you think, which is the easiest and the most difficult – the group of death for you?

Damian: Well, I think we both agree that the easiest group has to be group 2. Greece, Israel Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova and Switzerland. Luxembourg may well think they have a chance.

Damon: They may indeed.

Damian: That’s an appalling group.

Damon: It does seem bizarrely easy doesn’t it?

Damian: What about the group of death, what do you think?

Damon: Well, it’s difficult, I think group 1 and group 3 are both looking very difficult. I’m kind of leaning towards group 3, Czech Republic Northern Ireland, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia and Slovenia all of those teamss, apart from San Marino perhaps, can get a result sometimes, as Northern Ireland have shown people. They may take points off each other but I think that’s going to be a pretty difficult group.

Damian: Yes, I go with you on that one.

Damon: We asked a German fan what he thought about his team’s chances in group 4.

So Hans, what do you reckon about Germany’s World Cup qualifying group?

Hans: Very happy with the group. looks very doable doesn’t it?

Damon: It does indeed.

Hans: Russia probably the toughest opponent. The rest are fine, should qualify.

Damon: Thank you very much.

Damian: Now in Asia two teams qualify from each of the five groups and they will then meet in a later play-off tournament later on. This is also the first time that Australia have taken part in the Asian section and their group could not have been tougher.

Right, we’ve got Mark here who is from Australia, Mark, what do you think about the group that Australia faces in the World Cup qualifier?

Mark: Well, I’m pretty happy actually because I don’t think we could get a better group together for our first run. Now I know that the coach has said Iraq is  tough and Qatar is foxy but I think we can do it. I think Qatar is doable and Iraqis we can work them out if we really put our minds to it. Now, listen, it’s no accident that Australia is ranked number 48 alright, now the others, they do not even come close, 70 for Iraq, China for 85 and Qatar for 86 so we’re well to be the favourites. No problem there.

Damian: That’s interesting that’s very optimistic because most people in Australia would think that this is the group of death.

Mark: That’s a good point but that’s because when Australians get cocky they always lose, so this time if we go in quietly confident I think we can pull it off.

Damian: Alright, two to get through, you’re tipping Australia?

Mark: That’s it.

Damian: Lovely, thank you.

Now, two of the major powerhouses in Asian football are Korea and Japan and we caught up with two, a few of their fans and they gave us their opinions on their groups.

So Japan’s group is Thailand, Bahrain, Oman. What do you think?

Kohei: Yes, we are so lucky, we are going to final round, yes it’s so easy, easy-peasy.

Damian: So, World Cup for Japan, Keisuke, what do you think of Japan’s chances?

Keisuke: It’s good, lucky. Japan is lucky.

Damian: Easy group?

Keisuke: Yes, so easy.

Damian: So no problems to qualify?

Keisuke: No.

Damian: Azusa, what do you think, Japan’s chances?

Azusa: I am happy with it.

Damian: You think they’ll qualify?

Asuza: Yes.

Damian: Football tournaments often throw up intriguing matches between countries that may have political differences and this draw is no different. Chad and Somalia in the African section will meet with the shadow of Darfur hanging over both nations. In Europe, Turkey and Armenia have extremely poor relations, while in Oceania, NZ and Fiji are currently at a diplomatic all time low. However, in Asia, the pick of the bunch is surely the group that holds both Koreas – North and South. Two countries that are officially still at war.

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