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Main Listening Report: Euro 2012 – Italy

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. You can also find many more examples of football cliches here and our huge football glossary here. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at


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.

Key Players

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.

The Manager

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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

Their Chances

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
  • responded: Answered
  • 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
  • debacle: Disaster
  • fancy their chances: They think they will do well
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

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