The 32 World Cup teams are divided into eight groups of four during the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. In the fourth of a series of listening worksheets to help you practice your English we focus on Group D which includes Italy, England, Uruguay and Costa Rica. 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.
World Cup 2014 Listening Worksheet: Group D
Italy are most people’s favourites to get out of this group, and they certainly have the pedigree, winning the competition four times, most recently in 2006 in Germany. Ranked 9th by FIFA the midfield especially oozes quality, with Pirlo the maestro in the middle hoping to pull the strings for the azzurri. Of course, there are questions about how this European team will perform in the tropical heat of northern Brazil, but as they are used to possession football this may not be a factor. Prandelli, the coach, has created a solid side, although their recent run of results has not been that impressive – seven games without a win. They’ll be hoping for a spark from the moody Balotelli up front. They are first up against England and a victory would probably see them get out this group as winners with a second round game against one of Columbia, Japan or the Ivory Coast.
England, Italy’s opponents on the 15th of June in Manaus have come into this competition with no weight of expectation. There is a youthful feel to the selection, with pace up front in Sturridge and Sterling, which will scare most teams. Ranked 10th in the world by FIFA, the Three Lions may need an attacking threat because their weakness lies with a shaky defence, especially at right back, where Glenn Johnson has been criticised for sometimes switching off. Rooney is expected to start, although a poor game against Italy will see press and fans calls for the more creative Ross Barkley grow louder. Getting to the second round from a tough group would make most England fans happy and a quarter final place, where they could potentially play Brazil, Spain or Holland, would be more than expected.
Uruguay, ranked above England and Italy in 7th position, will be dreaming of repeating their title winning feats the last time the competition was held in Brazil in 1950. This seems unlikely, as, although they boast one of the most skillfull players on the world stage in Luis Suarez, they were very unconvincing in qualifying, needing to beat Jordan in a play off, and they also have a less than secure defence. Despite this, La Celeste, managed by Óscar Tabárez will be no pushovers, and Suarez could be the joker in the pack that inspires them to get out of the group.
Costa Rica appear to be in the group to make up the numbers and no-one is expecting them to get through to the next round. However, Los Ticos, ranked 27th in the world could bloody some noses. Famously, in the 1990 World Cup in Italy they were drawn with Brazil, Scotland and Sweden and beat both the Scots and Swedes to make it through to the next round. With Bryan Luiz up front, they just may take points off one or two of the other three to dent their opponents chances. Tricky customers.
Italy to go through as winners; England to go through in second place.
the pedigree: History and tradition; a proven record
ooze quality: To have a lot of good players; to have a lot of skill
azzurri: The Italian team’s nickname
to pull the strings: To control the game
no weight of expectation: no pressure
the Three Lions: The England team’s nickname
shaky: Weak; suspect
calls grow louder: Opinions to become stronger
feat: An action (often extraordinary); an achievement
La Celeste: The Uruguayan team’s nickname
the joker in the pack: a surprise that gives an advantage
Los Ticos: The Costa Rican team’s nickname
bloody some noses: shock; hurt; damage
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