On today’s show, languagecaster.com dissects France’s miserable performance at the World Cup. We also salute the four teams that have qualified for the knockout stages from Groups C and D and look ahead at today’s games. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts – we have lots of World Cup resources too. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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With their 1-2 defeat against South Africa leaving them bottom of Group A the French World Cup dream – or should that be nightmare – is over. Unable to break down a strong Uruguayan defence, overrun by a speedy Mexican attack and outplayed for much of the game by hosts South Africa, les bleus scored only one goal and managed to secure just one point. When fancied teams, like France, crash out of tournaments, there is usually an inquest as to why this may have occurred but with this team there is no such need as it was all so blatantly obvious.

Before the tournament had even started the football world knew that trouble and tension existed between players and the rather eccentric coach Raymond Domenech. Many felt that by not bringing to the tournament young stars Sammi Nasri from Arsenal and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid nor the leadership qualities of World Cup winner Patrick Vieira then his team would suffer. His captain Thierry Henry was patently out of form so could not start any of the games leading to another argument, this time over who should hold the captaincy – Patrice Evra got the nod but Franck Ribery and William Gallas were not impressed. There were rumours of cliques in the camp with players not talking to each other while there was dissatisfaction from home about the 5-star lifestyle and with the poor attitude of the team in general. Then at half-time against Mexico, striker Anelka launched a foul-mouthed tirade against Domenech for which he was dropped and sent home after refusing to apologise. Surely that would be it but the players then refused to train in response to this action or maybe due to the story being leaked. Backroom staff resigned, French federation staff resigned and the French public were resigned and disgusted with their team.

The coach Domenech called his players ‘imbeciles’ after their dramatic walk out from training and then dropped some of the supposed ringleaders meaning that a weakened side faced South Africa. That game produced a red card, a defeat and a poor performance, which ensured the end for the coach but to top it all off he then refused to shake hands with his South African counterpart the Brazilian Perreira claiming that he had said that France should not have even been in the finals due to the infamous handball decision against Ireland in the qualifiers. You didn’t think I would fail to mention that incident, did you? I would like to think I am above laughing at others’ misfortunes but in this case I will make an exception.

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Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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PodcastEpisode 67