Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2022 World Cup Qualifier Portugal v Ireland

In this football language podcast we look at some of the words and phrases from the Guardian newspaper report on the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Portugal and Ireland. 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: 2022 World Cup Qualifier Portugal v Ireland

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Languagecaster.com team – I hope you are all doing well. Currently the 2022 World Cup qualifiers are taking place and so on this podcast we look at some of the words and phrases from the Guardian report on the Portugal versus Ireland match that took place earlier in the week. We look at some of the words from the headline and the main report, including ‘struck late on to win the game‘.

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

Break Ireland’s hearts

Record-breaker Cristiano Ronaldo’s late goals for Portugal break Ireland’s hearts (Guardian.com Sep 2nd 2021)
This was the headline from the Guardian newspaper report on the game between Portugal and Ireland in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored two last-gasp goals to win the game 2-1. Ronaldo’s two goals (a brace) meant that he now has scored the most goals in international football (111) which is why he is described as ‘record-breaker‘ in this headline. Now, to break someone’s heart is to cause someone to feel great sadness and that is exactly how I felt after the game when Portugal snatched victory at the death. In this headline we can also see that the phrase ‘break Ireland’s hearts‘ is used in the present form as it is describing something that has just happened and that it also offers a sense of drama.

Have a penalty saved

[Ronaldo] had a penalty saved by Gavin Bazunu and then saw John Egan put the Republic of Ireland on course for what would have been a famous and deserved victory. (Guardian.com Sep 2nd 2021)
So, this sentence appears at the start of the report and includes much of the main information of the game – Ronaldo missed a penalty when the young Irish keeper Bazunu saved the spot kick and then it goes on to describe the opening goal for the Irish side. Interestingly, the verb form used here is ‘for what would have been‘ which means that it did not happen – there was no famous or deserved victory. Ireland very rarely win away against any of the top international sides which is why it was described as famous, while the young Irish side played really well which is why the writer suggested it was deserved – they played well but in the end they were denied victory.

Struck twice

But Manchester United’s newest signing struck twice in the dying minutes to give his country victory… (Guardian.com Sep 2nd 2021)
Here the writer uses the verb ‘struck twice‘ which is the past form of strike which of course means to score a goal. We might see the phrase ‘the team struck late to win the game‘ which means a late goal won the match. Ronaldo struck twice in the dying minutes means he scored two goals in the final part of the game – so late in fact that the Irish team could not respond.

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

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com – that message was in Italian. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocab support which you can access by coming along to our site. OK, that’s it for this short podcast – we hope you enjoyed our look at some of the words and phrases from the 2022 World Cup qualifier between Portugal and Ireland. For Irish fans it really showed that football can be cruel – it’s always the hope that kills us – while for Portugal they took a big step to the finals in Qatar and of course now have the all-time record international goalscorer in Cristiano Ronaldo with an incredible 111 goals. Don’t forget you can also come and find lots of football language on our site here at languagecaster.com. Enjoy all the football and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye.

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

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  • What is the meaning of the phrases “take down” and “bring down” in football?

    41′ Good defending! Alli tries to take the ball down in the box and work room for a volley, but Kucka gets himself in the way and coolly heads it back to his keeper, who gathers.

    43: Salah looks to bring down Alexander-Arnold’s cross on the edge of the Norwich penalty area, but Hanley steps in and clears for the hosts.

    • To take the ball down means to control the ball by bringing it from the air to the ground. The ball was in the air and Alli controlled it by bringing it down.

      In the second example, bring down (the ball from the cross) has a similar meaning. Salah tried to (looks) control the cross from Alexander-Arnold but was unable to.

      Hope that helps – would it be possible to post these questions on the forum page here?


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