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As if you need reminding, but this Saturday Real Madrid will play Juventus in the final of the Champions League. Real Madrid will be hoping to take the trophy home from Welsh capital Cardiff’s stadium and further enforcing their record holding status as the team with the most Champs League wins ever.

There’s certainly no denying that our students at GNP are just a little passionate (read: crazily obsessed) about the beautiful game with one of our students, Carlos, becoming so carried away during last month’s El Clásico that he managed to injure himself by punching his fist at a door in frustration! (Careful, Carlos!)

And while nearly all lessons seem to begin with you guys coming into class speaking a thousand Spanish words a minute about last night’s game, and also some choice words as scores are discreetly checked on phones during the last class of the afternoon (that’s you, Advanced students), lots of students find it difficult to discuss the sport in English.

So let’s take a look at how we can talk about football in English…

During and after a game, the most important question is always: ‘what’s the score?’  When giving the score we always start with the highest number, unlike in Spanish when it’s normally the home side’s result first. For example, we would say 2-1 to Man Utd, even if they were playing away from home at Chelsea.

If at the end of the game, the result is the same for both sides we call this a draw. A draw can be used as a noun: ‘it was a draw’, or as a verb: ‘Barcelona drew with Athetico Bilbao’.

If one unlucky side fails to score any goals then instead of giving their result as zero we use the word nil, for example the score 4-0 would be read as ‘four nil’. And when a team scores a goal which makes the result equal (the same) the team have equalised.

Teams are made up of the players: strikers – footballers who are responsible for scoring the goals, midfielders – players that stay in the middle of the pitch, defenders – the players trying to stop the other team from scoring goals, and the goalkeeper (sometimes called the goalie) – the player who has to save the goals from being scored by the other team. In charge of the whole team is the manager (in the example of Real Madrid, Zidane) responsible for deciding who plays and the strategies of play.

The game begins with kick off, and if you want to know what time the game starts you’ll often hear people ask, ‘what time is kick off?’. Then the game is divided into the first half, half time – the 15 minute break, the second half, and then, if necessary, extra time – 30 extra minutes of play to decide a winner if the second half ended as a draw. If there is still no winner after extra time it will go to the moment that every football fan dreadspenalties – a free kick at the goal.

So whether you’ll be celebrating at Cibeles on Saturday night or commiserating at the score, come into class and tell us what you thought of the game.

Vocabulario de interés

(expression) the beautiful game: a colloquial expression for football

(idiom) carry away: to move or excite greatly

(idiom) choice words: carefully selected words and often rude words

(verb/noun) score: the action of winning a point, or the term for the result of the match

(noun) side(s): the teams playing in a match

(expression) be made up of: consist of

(noun) the pitch: the green field where football is played

(verb) dread: to fear doing something or something happening

(verb) to commiserate: the opposite of to celebrate

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