[print_link] | Subscribe: Main Listening ReportThis week sees the final set of World Cup play-offs taking place and so on this week’s main listening report we take a look at some of the language from these types of games.
What are play-offs? These are a set of knock-out matches to decide which teams will qualify for a tournament or to make progress to the next round of a competition. In the World Cup qualifying campaign, the teams that take part in these play-offs have not been able to make it into the top spots in their groups so they receive another chance to qualify via the play-offs.
Different regions have different criteria for deciding which teams will participate in the play-offs but they usually involve two matches: home and away games which are also sometimes called legs. So, for example, in the European section there are four play-off matches played over two legs between the best eight runners-up from the nine qualifying groups. This means that Sweden for instance, who finished second behind Germany in their group take on Portugal who failed to beat Russia to top spot, in a play-off to see which of these two teams can progress to the finals in Brazil next summer. It is slightly different in Africa where the top 10 sides from the group stages were drawn into five play-off matches meaning that Africa will have five spots or berths in Brazil next summer. In Asia and South America it is different again as the fifth-best teams in each of these regions will play-off to see which team will make it through to Brazil – this year Jordan from Asia played Uruguay from South America. Similarly, the Oceania winner, New Zealand, plays against the fourth-best team in the North and Central American region which this time round was Mexico.
Now, the two-legged play-offs are usually cagey or tense affairs, particularly in the first leg, due to the high stakes involved and these are often decided on the away goals rule which means that in the case of a draw the team that has scored more goals in the away leg will progress. Penalties will also be used if both sides finish equal on goals scored after both legs and even extra-time. Now that is real drama indeed.
Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report
knock-out matches: Games where the winner qualifies and the loser is out of the competition.
campaign: Tournament; qualifying competition
via: Through or by
legs: Matches (home and away)
were drawn: Decided (usually randomly)
spots or berths: Places
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