On this week’s show the languagecaster team look at the UEFA Cup as well as having a new English for Football phrase. There is a transcript for the reports below as well as the following links for language learners.
- Worksheets and transcripts
- Vocabulary lists
- Online quizzes and crossword puzzles
- Weekly blogs from our football-crazy writers in fans’ forum
The last 16 of the UEFA Cup is upon us but many football fans seem unaware or simply do not care about the second European competition despite the fact that this year’s competition could be its strongest yet. Why is this trophy so poorly received among fans, players and the media? Format, a drop in the quality of teams taking part and of course the Champions League have all played their part in the decline of the UEFA Cup.
The Champions League with its financial and sporting power dominates European football and overshadowing its sister tournament. By playing in the Champions League teams are guaranteed huge sums of money, wide TV exposure and the ability to attract the best players from all over the world. But another reason for the lack of interest is the constant change in the competition’s format. Previously it was a simple knock-out tournament but it now has a third round league system that no one really understands but from which 24 teams emerge. These are then joined by 8 teams knocked out from the Champions League to give 32 teams who play home and away in a knock-out tournament. Confused? Don’t worry, everyone is.
Added to this, is the drop in quality of the participating teams. Before the Champions League, teams that finished second, third or fourth participated in the UEFA Cup but these teams now go to the main competition leaving teams that finish their domestic season in fifth, sixth or seventh now taking part in the UEFA Cup. On top of this, the domestic cup winners, the Intertoto winners and the teams with the best fair play record also play in the competition diluting the quality even further. It is no wonder that fans or media simply do not care any more about the UEFA Cup.
This year, however, the competition boasts four former European Cup winners in Benfica, PSV, Bayern Munich and Hamburg as well as Tottenham, Rangers, Fiorentina, Everton, Sporting and Anderlecht who have all previously won a European trophy. Many of the teams participating are also challenging at the top of their respective leagues, which makes this year’s tournament a strong one indeed. Which of these teams will make the final at the City of Manchester Stadium in May? I am going for a Bayern Munich – Fiorentina final with the Italians to win.