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The 32 World Cup teams are divided into eight groups of four during the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. In the first of a series of listening worksheets to help you practice your English we focus on Group A which includes Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. You can listen to this report by clicking on the link above and you can also download a worksheet (with answers) here. There is also a transcript and a list of key vocabulary at the bottom of the post.
Listening Worksheet: Group A
The hosts are one of the favourites to lift the trophy on July 13th but the team in fourth place on the FIFA rankings also carries the weight of the nation as they attempt to win their sixth World Cup. Brazil are the only country to have appeared in all 19 previous World Cup tournaments and this is the second time they have hosted the tournament – the last occasion was in 1950 when they lost out to Uruguay in what became known as the Maracanazo. Though the team is relatively inexperienced, Brazilian fans are hoping that young superstar Neymar can drive the Seleção to victory. They do however have an experienced coach, Felipe Scolari, who has already tasted success when he won the World Cup back in 2002. Brazil should easily qualify from Group A but in the second round they will probably have to play one of Spain, Holland or Chile and if they get through that then they may have to face the powerhouses of Italy, Germany or Argentina. This is the main reason why I think that Scolari’s Brazil will once again fall short at home.
Croatia are appearing in their fourth World Cup – their first was in 1998 when they finished third – and despite having to qualify via a play-off they look a good bet to make the second round. They are currently ranked 20th in the world and though they will fancy their chances over Mexico and Cameroon to finish second in the group only the most optimistic of Croatian fans would expect them to go further. The main strength of manager Niko Kovac’s side is in midfield where Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric will drive their team forward.
This will be the 15th time that El Tri have appeared at the World Cup finals but they were oh so very close to missing out on this one as they struggled through the CONCACAF qualifying stages. Their manager Miguel Herrera managed to get them to Brazil via the play-offs and his team, ranked 19th place in the world, will be hoping to make the second round of the tournament for the fifth time in a row. They will be relying on Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez to score the goals to help propel them to the last 16 but I think this may be beyond this Mexican side.
Cameroon’s first appearance at a World Cup was in 1982 in Spain and since then they have played on five more occasions including the 2010 tournament in South Africa where they lost all three matches. This may well happen again as the Indomitable Lions are the weakest of the four sides according to FIFA’s ranking – currently they are in 50th position. They do, however, have Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o to lead their line and if they can get something from their opening match against Mexico then they may well spring a surprise.
Brazil to top the group with Croatia qualifying in second spot.
hosts: The country where the tournament takes place
carries the weight of the nation: Holds the hopes of the country
Maracanazo: Brazilian fans refer to the 1950 defeat to Uruguay as Maracanazo
the Seleção: The nickname of the Brazilian national team
has already tasted success: Has already won something
fall short: Not be good enough
look a good bet to make the second round: They should qualify; many people think they can make it through
they will fancy their chances: They are confident
El Tri: The nickname of the Mexican side
CONCACAF: The North and Central American organisation
Indomitable Lions: The nickname of Cameroon
to lead their line: To play up front
spring a surprise: To cause an upset
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