The 32 World Cup teams are divided into eight groups of four during the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. In the second of a series of listening worksheets to help you practice your English we focus on Group B which includes Spain, Holland, Chile and Australia. 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 B
Spain are the World Cup and European Championship holders – in fact they have won the last two European Championships – and they are ranked first by FIFA. Despite this, some say they will find it hard to retain their trophy as no European side has ever won a World Cup that has taken place in South America and after last year’s thrashing by Brazil in the Confederations Cup final there are questions over whether they can last the pace. Manager Vicente del Bosque’s squad has enormous strength in depth and of course they have a winning mentality so it may be premature to write off Xavi, Iniesta and co just yet. They will face their World Cup final opponents from four years ago, Holland, in their opening game and they will need something from that to try and avoid the hosts Brazil in the second round. They will qualify from the group but depending whether they finish first or second they could be out in week two or go all the way to the final.
The Dutch were beaten finalists four years ago, the third time that they have lost in a World Cup final, and will face Spain again in their opening Group B match. The Netherlands are currently ranked 15th in the world, have played in nine previous tournaments and have, in Louis Van Gaal, a manager with a wealth of experience. They will be captained by Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie who along with Sneijder and Robben will provide the attacking threat for the Oranje but despite this huge amount of talent there are still questions over whether they can even make it out of the group. I think they will at the expense of Chile and Australia.
Chile finished third in the South American qualifying process and were many people’s favourites to do well until they found themselves in the so-called Group of Death. Chile played in the first World Cup in 1930 and this will be their ninth appearance where they will be hoping to do as well as the 1962 side that finished third when they hosted the tournament. Their coach, Jorge Sampaoli, expects his team to play attacking football and with Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez leading the line, the team that FIFA ranks as the 14th best in the world will be hoping to progress to the next round – I am not sure that they will and I think that they will miss out – but only just.
Australia qualified for the third time in succession, and their fourth overall, but are not expected to do that well in Brazil. They are currently ranked at 62 by FIFA which is the lowest of all the 32 participating nations and though they are capable of causing a surprise, their Group B opponents will be simply too strong for this to happen. I think the Socceroos will be going home soon after their final match on June 23rd against Spain in Curitiba.
thrashing: A heavy defeat
last the pace: maintain their level
strength in dept: The squad is very strong
premature: Too soon; too early
and co: And the rest of the team
a wealth of experience: Lots of experience
leading the line: Be the main striker
they will miss out: They will be eliminated – they will not qualify
the third time in succession: The third time in a row (2006, 2010 and 2014)