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On this week’s main listening report we look ahead to this summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine and focus on Italy’s chances in Group C. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. There is also a worksheet (see right) for learners who wish to improve their English.
With the best defensive record in qualifying, the Italians made it through to the finals fairly comfortably in a group that included Serbia, Slovenia and Northern Ireland. They were helped somewhat by the poor behaviour of Serbian fans in the qualifying match in Genoa which caused the game to be abandoned and awarded to Italy 3-0 but their qualification was never in doubt.
When manager Prandelli took over he stated that he would build his team around Antonio Cassano who responded with six goals in the qualifying campaign. Cassano however suffered a stroke back in October and despite being given the green light to play football again, he may not feature this summer. With his strike partner Guiseppe Rossi also recovering from a long-term injury the azzurri may turn to Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli as a forward alternative though which Balotelli turns up is anyone’s guess. Though Prandelli has brought in younger players he still has an experienced spine running through the side: Buffon, Pirlo and Chiellini and will be relying on them to guide the team through to the quarter-finals.
Cesare Prandelli has been in charge of the azzurri since 2010 and though he did not win too much as a club manager he has been credited with helping to improve the confidence and spirit in the side – the media has nicknamed the team L’Italia del Sorriso – Italy of smiles. He has also brought in some new blood into the team, for instance, Riccardo Montolivo and Leonardo Bonucci, while keeping faith in stalwarts such as
This is very much a team in transition with few tipping them to add to their solitary Euro title win on home soil in 1968 but the side is playing with much more confidence and style since the South African World Cup debacle when they failed to win a game. The first game against Spain is a crucial one and if they can avoid defeat then they have every chance of making it to the knock-out stages. They will fancy their chances against Ireland and Croatia though with Italian sides at European Championships we often simply do not know what to expect. Languagecaster is tipping them to come second in the group though they will not go beyond the last eight.
Conceded: Allowed goals in, to let goals in
Somewhat: Rather, quite
the game to be abandoned: The game was stopped and called off
awarded to: Given to
suffered a stroke: He had a serious illness (caused by trouble in the brain which affects movement and speech)
given the green light: Allowed to, given permission
azzurri: The nickname for the Italian side
turns up is anyone’s guess: We just do not know whether Balotelli will play well or cause trouble
spine: The main part of the team – usually down the middle
new blood: New players
stalwarts: Experienced players, veterans
in transition: A team not quite ready, progressing
solitary: Only one
fancy their chances: They think they will do well