20 teams have already booked their place in next summer’s European championship finals in France and the remaining four places will be decided in a series of play-offs over this weekend. In this listening practice report we look ahead to these four matches and try to offer a prediction! You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above, and you can also read the transcript of the report (below). There is also explanations of key vocabulary (in bold).
Listening Practice: 2016 European Championship Play-offs
The four play-off matches are played over two legs, home and away, with the winners of each tie qualifying for the finals in France next summer.
Hungary vs Norway
This one is tough to call but Norway have been impressive in their past four matches and their coach, Per-Mathias Høgmo, is confident that his side can make it through. They finished third in a tough group that also featured Croatia and Italy, whereas Hungary came third behind Northern Ireland and Romania. I fancy the Norwegians to progress to the finals.
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Ireland
Well, as an Ireland fan I am not too confident of the team overcoming a strong Bosnian side that includes Chelsea keeper Asmir Begović, Roma star midfielder Miralem Pjanić and his team mate Edin Džeko. The Bosnian side will be hoping to qualify for their second major tournament in a row after making it to Brazil 2014 though the Irish will be no pushovers – remember, they defeated Germany 1-0 at home a month ago. However, the Irish are missing key players including the winning goalscorer in that game, Shane Long, though manager Martin O’Neill is confident that with the second leg at home The Boys in Green can make it through to next summer’s finals. Prediction: My heart says Ireland but my head says Bosnia.
Ukraine vs Slovenia
The Ukrainians will start as slight favourites and their hopes will be resting on Sevilla’s Konoplyanka and Kyiv’s Yarmelenko to see them through against Slovenia. They have not lost a home match at the Arena Lviv where the first leg will take place so the Slovenians, who can count on Inter’s Handanovič and keeper Jan Oblak from Atlético Madrid, will have it all to do. Prediction: Ukraine.
Sweden vs Denmark
This ‘local derby’ has captured the imaginations of both sets of fans but I think Sweden will have a slight edge as they include Zlatan Ibrahimović and Denmark were rather lacklustre in their qualifying campaign and indeed they have failed to score in their last three matches. Their main hopes rest with Tottenham playmaker Cristian Eriksen, while coach Morten Olsen is pleased that the second leg will be played at home which he feels gives them an advantage. Prediction: Sweden to make it through.
Let us know which teams you think will make it through to the finals next summer by posting a comment below.
is tough to call: Difficult to predict
I fancy: I feel; I think, I predict
no pushovers: Not easy to beat
The Boys in Green: The nickname for the Irish football team
their hopes will be resting on: They will be relying on
will have it all to do: Will find it difficult
has captured the imaginations: Many people are excited by the game
lacklustre: Did not perform well
- UEFA’s Preview can be found here
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