Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021 Nations League Review

In this football language podcast we look at some of the words and phrases from the recent Nations League semi-final and final that took place in Italy. We use the UEFA.com official site to help us do this. 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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Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021 Nations League Review

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Languagecaster.com team here in a rather chilly London. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying all the international football that is taking place at the moment – indeed many of you might have heard Damon’s recent podcast in which he looked at the 2022 World Cup qualifier between Estonia and Wales and in particular the phrase poked home. On this podcast we also look at some more language from the international break but this time we look at phrases from the recent Nations League tournament in Italy. And in order to do this, we use the UEFA.com official site match reports.

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

OK, so for those who don’t know or don’t remember, the Nations League is a UEFA-organised tournament which has meant fewer friendlies and more competitive matches in Europe. The top four section winners in Group A met in Italy in two semi-finals to decide the winner of the 2021 Nations League title. So the hosts Italy played Spain and Belgium faced France with France then defeating Spain in the final to become the second Nations League winners after Portugal did so two years previously. The quality of the the games, apart from the dead rubber of the third and fourth place game, was incredible as all four teams went for it – they went out all attack in trying to win the tournament.

Let’s take a look at some of the language used to describe these performances, starting with the Italy-Spain game.

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Italy 1-2 Spain: Converted a pinpoint cross

Ferran Torres converted a pair of pinpoint Mikel Oyarzabal crosses to ensure Spain reached their first UEFA Nations League final by beating Italy 2-1 in Milan. (UEFA.com, October 6th 2021)
So, in this is the headline from UEFA.com we can see the key information from the match. First of all we can see the verb ‘converted‘ which is used when a player scores a goal – the player converted a chance or the forward converted a cross. So in this example we can see that Spanish forward Ferran Torres scored from an Oyarzabal cross or centre. Torres scored a brace, that’s two goals, and it is interesting that both of his goals were set up by Mikel Oyarzabal’s pinpoint crosses where pinpoint means precise or exact – both times the ball perfectly reached the forward.

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France 3-2 Belgium: Set up a date with

Theo Hernández’s first international goal completed a stunning comeback and set up a final date with Spain. (UEFA.com, October 7th 2021)
So, in the second semi-final on the following day in Turin, France beat Belgium 3-2 in another thrilling encounter. Unlike the Spanish, however, they had to come from behind after Belgium raced into a 2-0 lead before half-time. Indeed, we posted on our football language forum that France were desperate for half-time as it looked as if the Belgians would ease to victory. However, the French scored three unanswered goals including Theo Hernández’s winner in the 90th minute. The headline uses the phrase ‘completed a stunning comeback‘ which means that they were losing but ended up winning – stunning means ‘amazing’; it is a very positive adjective indeed. To set up a date means to organise a meeting with someone but here it refers to the final ‘meeting’; so we can say France set up a final date with Spain thanks to their stunning victory.

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France 2-1 Spain: Turnaround

France produced another stunning turnaround to beat Spain 2-1 and win their first UEFA Nations League title in Milan. (UEFA.com, October 10th 2021)
Although the final was a little cagey in the first half, it sprung into life in the second half as both teams attacked in their search for the win. Spain took the lead through Oyarzabal in the 65th minute but Benzema equalised two minutes later with a wonder strike. Yet again France came from behind to win when Kylian Mbappé slotted home the winner after 80 minutes – although there was some controversy over whether he was offside or not. Now, the UEFA.com headline uses the word stunning again to describe another comeback this time with the phrase ‘turnaround‘ – a ‘stunning turnaround‘, which of course means a stunning comeback. France amazed everybody by coming from behind again and this time they won the title.

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

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com – that message was in French. 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. We also have a football language forum where fans of the beautiful game can ask and answer questions on all kinds of football language – come along and join in the football language discussion. And recent forum entries have included phrases such as, ‘game on‘ and ‘keep at bay

OK, that’s it for this week’s podcast in which we looked at some of the phrases from the UEFA.com reports from the 2021 Nations League including ‘turnaround‘, ‘stunning comeback‘, ‘pinpoint cross‘ and ‘convert a chance‘. Don’t forget you can also come and find lots more football language on our site here at languagecaster.com, including our football glossary and of course more than ten seasons of podcasts too! Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye.

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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